MAR 5 1998 The Honorable Sherwood Boehlert Member, U.S.

House of Representatives Alexander Pirnie Federal Building, Room 200 10 Broad Street Utica, New York 12501-1270 Dear Congressman Boehlert: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXX . Mr. XXX has asked you to determine if the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) would require the Oneida County Historical Society to modify its facilities, and, to determine if Federal funds are available to defray the cost of compliance. We apologize for the delay in responding. We do not have sufficient information about the Oneida County Historical Society to be able to say specifically how the ADA applies to that organization's operations. There are different requirements for public entities (usually State or local governments) and places of public accommodation operated by private entities. In general, however, Mr. XXX should be aware that the ADA applies different requirements to new construction and alterations than it applies to existing facilities that are not otherwise being altered. New construction of (or alterations to) privately owned buildings subject to the ADA must comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Publicly owned buildings may comply with the ADA Standards or with the Uniform Federal Accessibility cc: RECORDS; CHRONO; WODATCH; BLIZARD; MCDOWNEY; FOIA C:\MYFILES\BOEHLERT.WPD -2Standards. The ADA does not exempt historic facilities from coverage, but it does take into account the national interest in preserving significant historic structures. The ADA regulations establish special procedures that may be followed in situations where full compliance with the technical requirements of the ADA accessibility standards for new construction and alterations will threaten or destroy the historic significance of a facility.

Even if no alterations are planned, a public accommodation is required to remove architectural barriers to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so. Barrier removal that would threaten or destroy the historic significance of the facility would not be readily achievable; therefore, it would not be required. However, if it is not readily achievable to remove architectural barriers in customer service areas, the public accommodation is still required to make its goods and services available to customers with disabilities through alternative methods such as curbside service, if such methods are readily achievable. Public entities have a similar obligation - to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from their programs because the facility in which the program is offered is inaccessible. Mr. XXX also asked about the availability of funds to pay for modifications to provide access. The ADA, itself, does not provide funds for construction. However, funds may be available through other Federal programs that provide funds for various types of construction. In addition, private entities may be eligible for a tax credit for expenses necessary to comply with the ADA. As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code permits an eligible small business (one whose gross receipts do not exceed $1,000,000 or whose work force does not exceed more than 30 full-time workers) to claim a credit of up to 50 percent of eligible access expenditures that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250. Information about this tax credit can be obtained from a local IRS office, or by contacting the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service. I am enclosing copies of the Department of Justice regulations implementing titles II and III of the ADA and the Department's Technical Assistance Manuals. These documents should enable Mr. XXX to determine which requirements of the

-3ADA apply to the facilities that he manages. If Mr. XXX has further questions, he may contact the Department of Justice's toll-free ADA Information Line (800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-5140383 (TDD)). Members of the Disability Rights Section staff are

available to answer questions on the information line on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Eastern time. On Thursday, the information line is staffed from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. I hope that this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Bill Lann Lee Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures