City council asked to spend millions to settle ADA lawsuit

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville's City Council is now being asked to spend millions of dollars to make the city more accessible for people with disabilities.

Legislation will be introduced on Tuesday asking the city to spend more $37 million in the next six years to settle a potential suit.

A survey done by the U.S. Justice Department showed major problems with access to government buildings in Jacksonville along with streets and parks.

For more than a year the city lawyers have been working on a settlement to bring Jacksonville in line with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Bobby Smith who uses an electric wheelchair to get around Jacksonville said he is glad the settlement will bring changes.

"It's hard to get around Jacksonville right now. The hardest thing is to get in doors which are not automatic," Smith said.

He he hopes changes will come soon.

In the agreement, which has been a year in the making, the terms call for updates to facilities like the baseball park and arena. It also calls for more curb cuts in sidewalks at street intersections. It lists employment issues with the city and some changes for law enforcement involvement with people who have disabilities. Elections issue will also be addressed.

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