On February 15, 2011, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with the Town of Swansea, Massachusetts, under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
The Department of Justice initiated a compliance review of Swansea as a part of Project Civic Access, a Departmental initiative to ensure greater access for persons with disabilities to state and local government programs, services, activities, and facilities. This review included an on-site survey of the Town's buildings, programs, and services.
Facilities and programs surveyed by the Department and covered by the agreement include: Ernest W. Bell Animal Shelter, Vinnium Woods Cemetery, Fire Stations #2 and #4, Swansea Ambulance Corps, E. S. Brown School, St. Dominic's Parish Hall, the Senior Center, Town Hall Annex, Board of Health Veteran Services Building, Swansea Public Library, Town Hall, the Tax Department, several town offices, Swansea Highway Department, Norman B. Smith School Committee Room, Town Beach, and Little League Field Complex.
The Department reviewed the Town's policies and procedures regarding emergency management, voting, and sidewalk construction and maintenance to evaluate whether persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to utilize these programs. The Department also reviewed the policies and procedures of the Swansea Police Department regarding effective communication with persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Under the agreement announced today, the Town of Swansea will take several important steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities. The text of the settlement agreement specifies the particular modifications that Swansea will make to each of the programs, services, and facilities covered by the agreement as well as the timeframes for making each change. Among other things, the Town has agreed to:
Swansea, Massachusetts was established in 1663 as a colonial site. The historical town is located in Bristol County at the mouth of the Taunton River in southeastern Massachusetts, less than 50 miles from Boston. According to U.S. Census data, Swansea has just under 16,000 residents. Approximately 16 percent of Swansea residents have a disability and will benefit from this agreement.
The Settlement Agreement will remain in effect for three years from February 15, 2011, or until all actions required by the agreement have been completed, whichever is later. The Department will actively monitor compliance with the Agreement, which will remain in effect until the Department has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
Project Civic Access | ADA Home Page
February 15, 2011