Is Centennial Park violating ADA?

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Disabled visitors with handicap parking plates at Munster Centennial Park often find it difficult to reach the only parking meter on one half of the 200-acre park. (Photos provided)

Local Voices

Elvis Slaughter

Every park should be available to everyone, including people with disabilities. However, disabled visitors with handicap parking plates at Munster’s Centennial Park often find it difficult to reach the only parking meter on one half of the 200-acre park. They must at times cross two parking lot streets while dealing with heavy vehicle traffic and sidewalk curves. In most cases, this leaves an unpleasant experience for most of them.

No efforts were made to provide additional parking meters, ensuring that the park would be easily accessed by people with disabilities, while residents of Munster park free, and a $85 fee for the disabled, if the first $45 parking violation is not paid within fifteen days. Making the park inaccessible to people with disabilities may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For example, the US Department of Justice is suing the Chicago Cubs, alleging that Wrigley Field renovations and its expansion violated the ADA. In the words of the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, “For 32 years, the ADA has set clear requirements to ensure that public venues such as sports facilities are accessible. The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the law to ensure that fans with disabilities and their families are able to enjoy their ballpark experience.”

In line with Title III of the ADA, public accommodations like parks and sports stadiums are prohibited from excluding individuals with disabilities from enjoying privileges, advantages, goods, services, facilities, and advantages provided. Putting in place barriers such as parking fees, meters, sidewalk curves, and vehicle traffic prevent individuals with disabilities from enjoying the benefits provided by Centennial Park.

Elvis Slaughter

Sources: Asta contract (https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/us-attorney-s-office-files-suit-against-chicago-cubs-alleging-wrigley-field-renovations)


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