116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - City officials have reached the first goal required in a July settlement with federal authorities to bring city property into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city has said it will sell $15 million in bond debt over three years to make the required upgrades set out in the agreement. Much of the expense centers on the need to bring an estimated 4,000 curb ramps into ADA compliance.
The first goal of the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice required the city to hire an independent, licensed architect within three months to evaluate city properties that federal officials had not audited.
The City Council this week agreed to hire Recreation Accessibility Consultants of Hoffman Estates, Ill., at a cost of $935,120 over four years.
Sandi Fowler, the city's assistant city manager, told the council this week that almost $600,000 of the contract will go to purchase engineering design services from the Illinois company for the first 1,000 of the estimated 4,000 curb ramps that must be put in or replaced.
The city will build those 1,000 ramps next year and must fix all of them within the four-year window of the agreement, Fowler said.
She said Recreation Accessibility Consultants will monitor the city's work to comply with the agreement.
Council member Kris Gulick asked whether the city's own engineering staff could perform the engineering design on curb ramps, and Fowler said the city's engineers generally oversee work with design work performed by contract engineering firms.
The city installs or replaces 150 to 175 curb ramps a year, and it has contracted for the design work, she said.
The Justice Department first contacted the city in 2011 about an ADA audit as part of the department's Project Civic Access program.
Des Moines, Davenport and Pella have completed similar agreements, federal authorities have said.