FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO MEET WITH SAN ANTONIO OFFICIALS
AS PART OF INITIATIVE TO ENSURE CIVIC ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On July 24, 2002, Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., met with city representatives and residents with disabilities from San Antonio, Texas, in recognition of their efforts to make San Antonio more accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. The meeting held in Washington commemorates the signing into law of the ADA twelve years ago by President George H.W. Bush.
Ensuring participation in everyday civic life for people with disabilities is a key requirement in President Bushs New Freedom Initiative, said Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson. We at the Department are pleased to recognize the City of San Antonio, its officials, and its residents with disabilities for the actions they have taken to make the Citys River Walk and the Citys basic buildings and services more accessible to people with disabilities.
Also recognized at the meeting were the actions of three other communities, Fernandina Beach, Florida; Springfield, Missouri, including the City of Springfield, the Springfield Library, and the Springfield Utilities; and Summers County, West Virginia.
I commend these cities for literally opening doors to all Americans, said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. We are committed to expanding Project Civic Access and mirroring these successes throughout the country.
Todays meeting recognizes the actions of San Antonio in complying with the ADA under the Departments Project Civic Access, a wide-ranging initiative to ensure that state facilities, counties, cities, towns, and villages comply with the ADA. The Project was initiated to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life, a fundamental part of American society. As part of the Project, Departmental investigators surveyed state and local government facilities and programs across the country for the purpose of negotiating modifications needed to comply with ADA requirements. To date, 51 governments across the nation have agreed to make changes to make themselves more accessible.
The City of San Antonio has agreed to:
- post, publish, and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of title II and their applicability to the Citys programs, services, and activities;
- post the Citys TTY telephone number on all letters sent to the public from every City office;
- provide directional signs indicating the location of accessible features of buildings;
- make physical modifications to facilities so that parking, routes into buildings, entrances, doors, signage, public telephones, restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, service counters, drinking fountains, inmate cells and shower rooms, as well as swimming pools are accessible to people with disabilities;
- install additional accessible spectator seating in the Lila Cockrell Theater at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, the Sunken Gardens Theater at Brackenridge Park, and the Woodlawn Lake Park Gymnasium; and
- install accessible recreation tables at Monterey Park and O.P. Schnable Park.
The settlement agreement will remain in effect for three years from January 30, 2002, or until the parties agree that full compliance has been achieved.
The Department of Justice initiated a compliance review of San Antonio in October 1999. An on-site survey of the Citys buildings and services was conducted January 6 through 8, 2000. Facilities covered by the agreement include: City Hall; City Hall Annex; the Frank D. Wing Municipal Courthouse; Fire Department Headquarters and various substations; Police Headquarters and substations including the Frio Road Substation, Prue Road Substation, Mayfield Road Substation, East Houston Street Substation, and the Jones Maltsberger Road Substation; the Municipal Plaza Building; the Plaza de Armas Building; the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center and Lila Cockrell Theater; various parks, athletic complexes, swimming pools and community centers including San Pedro Springs Park, Brackenridge Park and Sunken Gardens Theater, Richard Cuellar Park, Woodlawn Lake Park, Monterey Park, O.P. Schnable Park, Elmendorf Park, the San Fernando Gymnasium, and the Lions Field Adult Center.
In conjunction with todays meeting, the Division is featuring a story and photographs on San Antonio and its residents in a special anniversary display on the Departments ADA Home Page, www.ada.gov.
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the programs, services, and activities of state and local governments. Public entities must make reasonable modifications in policies that deny equal access, provide effective communication, and make their programs accessible through the removal of barriers or through alternate methods of program delivery, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration of the program would result.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA can access the ADA home page at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).