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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY, APRIL 20, 1998

CR

YMCA OF FREMONT, NEBRASKA TO BECOME MORE ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE

WITH DISABILITIES UNDER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLEMENT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Nebraska chapter of the YMCA will make its facilities accessible to people with disabilities by removing barriers and ensuring that new renovations comply with federal disability law, under an agreement reached with the Justice Department. The agreement, reached last week, resolves a complaint filed with the Justice Department alleging the Fremont, Nebraska YMCA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It alleged that additions and renovations at the YMCA did not conform to the accessibility requirements of the ADA. Under the agreement, the YMCA will make appropriate modifications to the recently completed renovations and remove other barriers to access to people with mobility impairments. The ADA requires that all new construction and alterations begun after January 26, 1992, be built in accordance with the law's Standards for Accessible Design. The standards set forth specific architectural requirements which ensure construction is fully accessible to people with disabilities. "All Americans should be able to participate fully in programs and activities available in their communities, such as those available at the YMCA," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Bill Lann Lee. Under the agreement, the Fremont YMCA will, for example: enlarge the existing elevator shaft, which has been vacant, and install an elevator;

re-stripe the existing accessible parking stalls to provide an accessible parking space;

ensure that the men's and women's locker rooms are accessible;

provide accessible signage for the lobby restrooms, upper level restrooms, and exits;

install water fountains that can be used by people who use wheelchairs and make various doors accessible.

A portion of the work has been completed already and all of the work will be completed within 6 months. "We appreciate the cooperative efforts of the YMCA in resolving this complaint," added Lee. Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations, including exercise facilities, to comply with the law's new construction design standards and to remove barriers to access for existing buildings where "readily achievable" to do so. Readily achievable is defined as neither too costly nor too difficult to achieve. Individuals or public accommodations who wish to learn more about the ADA are encouraged to contact the Justice Department's ADA technical assistance hotline at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TDD) or to access the ADA Internet home page at http://www.usdoj/crt/ada/adahom.1.htm. Last year President Clinton participated in a public service announcement, which aired on hundreds of radio stations across the country, touting the ADA hotline. # # #

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