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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- People with disabilities will now have full access to the facilities at Dover Downs International Speedway, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department. The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, resolves allegations that Dover Downs, located in Dover, Delaware, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The owners of the track, which features NASCAR racing and harness racing, have agreed to take steps to ensure that its facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. "Auto and horse racing fans with disabilities should be able to enjoy all the excitement that Dover Downs has to offer," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We're pleased that after learning about the problems at the facility, Dover Downs has gone the distance and agreed to make its facility accessible." In June 1994, the Justice Department received a complaint from an individual with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"), who had attended a NASCAR race along with his family at Dover Downs in May 1994. He alleged the ramps to the seating areas were unusable, he was unable to obtain adequate accessible parking, and he could not use the restrooms or concession areas. "The Agreement with Dover Down is part of a continuing effort by the U.S. Attorneys Office and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to assure that citizens with disabilities have the full enjoyment all public facilities-including restaurants, amusement parks, doctors offices and many more," said Gregory M. Sleet, U.S. Attorney in Delaware. Since the complaint was filed, Dover Downs expanded its facility to include Dover Downs Slots, a video lottery facility. The Justice Department's investigation included both the racing facility and the slot facility. Under the agreement, which still must be approved by the federal court, Dover Downs will, among other things: make the outdoor grandstands accessible by adding wheelchair seating locations with companion seating, accessible routes and ramps to these seating areas;

provide designated accessible parking areas adjacent to grandstand entrances, and will develop a new policy for transportation of people with disabilities to and from the gates;

make the restrooms serving the outdoor grandstands accessible to persons with disabilities, and ensure that the routes to designated accessible restrooms are also accessible;

ensure that the Dover Downs Slots facility is fully accessible to persons with disabilities, including lowering service counters and betting windows;

train all employees regarding non-discriminatory service of individuals with disabilities; and

pay $20,000 in compensatory damages to the complainant.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, including entertainment facilities. Copies of the agreement may be obtained by calling the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line. The hotline was established by Attorney General Janet Reno as part of a nationwide campaign to educate the public about the law. Last year, President Clinton participated in a radio public service announcement to highlight the hotline. The number is 800-514-0301 and 800-514-0383 (TDD). The agreement will also be made available on the Justice Department webpage at: [].

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