Justice Department Studies City Buildings For
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 15, 2003
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA--Barbara Aaron's 12-year-old daughter, Katie, is an aspiring field hockey goalie. She attends an after-school program at a Durham city recreation center. But the center is not accessible to Katie's wheelchair, and there would be no safe way for her to exit the building in an emergency.
Aaron filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice last year -- one of several the federal agency received about access problems at city buildings. The City Hall itself does not have accessible bathrooms.
The Justice Department has chosen to visit Durham as part of its Project Civic Access, partly in response to the number of complaints it received from local citizens. Investigators are checking to see if the city's 150 public buildings comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
"[The city] has had 13 years and they've done absolutely nothing," said Aaron, who is on the Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities.
According to a brief item in Friday's Durham News & Observer, officials refused to comment on what the reviewers are finding. A report is expected within the next few months, and the price tag for coming into compliance is expected to be high.
Under the access project, DOJ plans to review accessibility in city facilities in every state.