The Americans with Disabilities Act became effective July 26, 1990. This significant legislation extends civil rights protections to an estimated 49 million Americans with disabilities in much the same way that individuals are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability in the areas of employment, public service, public accommodation, transportation, and telecommunication.
In January 2000, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County contacted the United States Department of Justice to discuss its plans for achieving compliance with the ADA. A formal agreement was reached the following July. Metro government continues to address requirements of the agreement, and to date, has made substantial progress. The following are highlights:
- Mayor Bill Purcell appointed an ADA Coordinator responsible for Metro government compliance in its programs, services, activities, and facilities.
- Each Metro department and agency designated an agency-level ADA Coordinator with responsibility for compliance in their respective agencies’ programs, services, activities, and facilities.
- A formal public notice was published.
- A formal grievance procedure for resolving ADA complaints was adopted.
- Self-evaluations of all Metro programs, services, and activities began.
- An architectural survey of all Metro facilities was completed to support the development of a transition plan for structural changes.
- The ADA Compliance Office was created.
- Structured procedures were created for the compliance review of construction/rehabilitation of facilities, parks, playgrounds, green ways, as well as projects completed in the right-of-way.