CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Cedar Rapids is about two years into its four year plan to make the city compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city settled with the federal government two years ago.
That settlement meant installing thousands of new curb ramps and making changes to city buildings, parks, and parking lots. The city needed to update four thousand curbs to comply with the ADA. They estimated that could cost 15-million dollars,
The city has spent the past two years working to get their parks, ice arena, and Veteran's Memorial Stadium up to standards.
Crews are also hard at work building an all-inclusive playground at Noelridge Park that will be handicap friendly. Some of the upgrades being done around the city may not be noticeable, but they make a huge impact.
Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler says, "Probably the easiest thing for a citizen to see is a sidewalk, with a curb ramp, that allows you to get to that park pavilion.”
She says the next step is to make sure all city buildings meet ADA standards. The city has the option to file an extension if they are not in compliance after the four year deadline, but they are confident that they will meet it.
They say they check in regularly with the Department of Justice. Fowler explains, "They require that we hire what they call an independent licensed architect. That person that's paid for by us but is considered a third party that's independent by us comes in periodically and checks all of the accommodations. All of the fixes we've made. And then they report separately to the Department of Justice."
Some people started a petition hoping to make Ellis Pool more ADA friendly. They want the deep end to be more accessible for seniors who would benefit from some aerobic exercises. The city is aware of those petitions, and will make the changes to accommodate them.