County making strides to fix ADA violations, big projects ahead

Posted at 5:47 PM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 00:22:11-04

McLennan County is still working to fix the more than 300 Americans with Disabilities Act violations.  Their deadline to fix the issues is approaching quickly. 

County Judge Scott Felton said about half of the violations have been fixed.

"We've spent about three-quarters of a million dollars so far," Felton said.

The majority of the ones that are not complete are bigger projects, like widening doorways at the courthouse near the walkway between the main courthouse and the annex, and fixing other issues at the fairgrounds. 

"We have a significant amount to do," Felton said. "We have multiple projects that are fairly large that we have yet to tackle. We know what we have to do and so we'll be working on those. And we are working on those."

Felton said in 2011, the Department of Justice started the Project Civic Access in McLennan County to improve civic life for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The county did not get results from the 2011 review until 2014. In November 2015, the county and the DOJ came to an agreement to fix the violations in a three-year span. 

Felton said signage and counter heights were corrected to be within ADA standards. 

The Juvenile Justice Center still needs significant changes.

"Some of the things we can accommodate easy. Some of them are vision, hearing impaired, and others are more mobility issues," Felton said.

If there is someone in the judicial process who has a disability, the county has the option to move them to the visiting courtroom, which is ADA compliant. 

The majority of the projects left are to fix infrastructure, but the county isn't sure how much more that will cost. Felton said it could be up to two-million more dollars. There are quite a few violations at the Extraco Events Center, including restrooms that were not ADA compliant, that are not a concern anymore because buildings there have been torn down for the planned overhaul.

"We intend to complete the process and we're hopeful the Department of Justice will work with us on the time," Felton said. 

County officials aren't making any changes to the courthouse until they get the approval from the Historical Commission to ensure the historical integrity of the building. 

Felton said the bigger construction projects are going out to bid soon.

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