On July 21, 2010, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with Wilson County, North Carolina, 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, as well as section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Department's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G.
After receiving a complaint alleging that three County facilities were inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, the Department of Justice initiated an investigation of Wilson County in September 2007, as part of Project Civic Access, a Departmental initiative to ensure greater access for Americans with disabilities to local government programs, services, and facilities. Couny staff worked cooperatively with the Department throughout the investigation in order to reach an agreement.
The Department conducted an on-site survey of County buildings and services in November, 2008. Facilities covered by the agreement include: Miller Road Office Building, Nash Street Office Building, and the Wilson County Courthouse.
The Department also reviewed the County's policies and procedures regarding grievance procedures, polling places, emergency management procedures, and employment.
The text of the settlement agreement specifies the modifications that Wilson County will be making to its programs, services, and facilities. Among other things, the County has agreed to:
The County seat of Wilson is the City of Wilson, located in Eastern North Carolina. The County was formed on February 14th, 1855. From the 1880's through the 1900's, Wilson was known for its tobacco farming but is now thought of as the center for world famous Eastern Carolina style pork barbecue. One of the most notable citizens of Wilson County was Alpheus Branch, the man responsible for founding what would become today's BB&T bank, one of the largest banks in the southeast. As of the 2000 census, the overall population of the County was 73,814. An estimated 18,361 people with disabilities five years of age or older live in Wilson County, representing 27.1% of the County's residents.
The settlement agreement will remain in effect for a period of three years after July 20, 2010, or until all elements have been completed, whichever is later. The Department will actively monitor compliance with this settlement agreement until all required actions have been completed.
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