WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the city of Milton, Wash., under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to improve access to city parks and recreational activities for persons with disabilities. The agreement resolves a complaint alleging that the city’s parks and annual parade and festival are not accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities.

“This agreement will ensure that individuals with disabilities living in Milton will have improved access to their parks and recreational activities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “I commend city officials for making this commitment to their residents with disabilities. In this year when we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA, it is time for all state and local governments throughout the country, no matter what size, to make a renewed commitment to achieving full ADA compliance and ensuring the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.”

Under the agreement announced today, the city of Milton will take several important steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities, such as:

  • Making physical modifications to the city’s two parks so that parking, routes to park amenities, and park amenities (e.g., picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields and drinking fountains) are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The agreement specifies which modifications will be made at each park.
  • Ensuring that persons with disabilities will have equal access to restroom facilities in Triangle Park, the city’s largest park. Because the city raised concerns about the cost of tearing down the existing inaccessible restroom and replacing it with a new one, the agreement details a variety of ways for the city to meet the ADA requirements for providing restroom access to persons with mobility disabilities in the short and long term, with department approval, without unnecessarily large expenditures.
  • Providing accessible playground equipment at Triangle Park so children with mobility disabilities will have an equal opportunity to enjoy the playground.
  • Making modifications to city policies and practices for the annual summer parade and festival.

Located between Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., Milton, has an estimated population of approximately 6,000. According to census data, one in every four residents of Milton is an individual with a disability.

Today’s settlement agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The department will actively monitor the city’s compliance with the agreement. The agreement will remain in effect for three years or until the department has confirmed that all required actions have been completed, whichever is later.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with Milton or the ADA best practices tool kit for state and local governments can access the ADA website at http://www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

Source: Department of Justice