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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 1998

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NORFOLK, VIRGINIA ARENA TO BECOME ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH

DISABILITIES UNDER AGREEMENT WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- SCOPE Arena in Norfolk, Virginia, will become accessible to persons who use wheelchairs, under an agreement reached with the Justice Department. The agreement, reached late Friday, requires the city of Norfolk, which owns and operates SCOPE Arena, to make several alterations to the arena so it is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The city has agreed to complete the alterations by April 1998. SCOPE Arena is a venue housing hockey, basketball, circus, and concert events. "A sports fan or concert-goer should be able to cheer on their favorite team even if they happen to have a disability," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "This agreement will make that possible." The Justice Department began looking into the accessibility of the arena after receiving a complaint from a Virginia resident. The complaint alleged that SCOPE Arena violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it lacked sufficient seating to accommodate people who used wheelchairs. The Justice Department's investigation revealed that other areas of the stadium were inaccessible, as well. Under the agreement, Norfolk will: provide accessible seats and companion seats around the seating bowl of the stadium;

provide fully accessible parking;

modify floor surfaces, ticket counters, ramps, and stairs to be accessible to people with disabilities;

make accessible all public toilet rooms in the arena;

provide sufficient numbers of accessible floor seating available whenever floor seating is utilized for stadium events;

advertise the availability of accessible seats;

modify ticketing policies so that accessible seats and companion seats will not be sold to non-disabled persons until all non-accessible seating is sold out or until 5:00 p.m. the day before the event; and,

hold the seats in front of the accessible seating area until all other seats are sold out, in order to provide persons using wheelchairs a line of sight over those sitting in front of the accessible seating area.

The city will notify the Department after all modifications have been completed, which is to occur no later than April 27. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and public accommodations. Under title II of the law, State and local governments must operate each service, program, or activity in such a way as to make them accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals interested in finding out more about the ADA can access the Department's ADA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahoml.htm or call the ADA information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). Last year, President Clinton participated in a radio public service announcement advertising the toll free hotline. # # #

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