Wheelchair users in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will have an easier time getting around now that the city and U.S. Department of Justice reached a $15 million deal requiring the installation, repair or replacement of 4,000 to 8,000 curb cuts and sidewalk ramps. Approved by Cedar Rapids city council in July, the agreement was signed off on by the DOJ on Sept. 1.
“This is a great step forward to ensure that people with disabilities do have equal access and can participate in civic life, which is a fundamental right in American society,” said Kevin Techau, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, in a statement.
Cedar Rapids joins nearly 220 cities since 1999 that have reached agreements under the DOJ’s Access to Civic Life initiative. Des Moines, Davenport and Pella have completed the DOJ agreements.
Under the city’s current budget year, the city council has approved selling $5 million in bond debt for ADA compliance projects. Sandi Fowler, the city’s assistant city manager, says the city expects similar arrangements to fund the work to come in the next two years.
As part of the agreement, Cedar Rapids must also soften the slopes of some city parking lots, improve pathways from parking lots in city parks to park pavilions and upgrade park restrooms.