United States attorney Joseph Hogsett announced Thursday the execution of an agreement between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the United States Department of Justice that sets a definitive timeline for bringing the 104-year-old racing facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As noted in the agreement, IMS was built in 1909 and has undergone continuous upgrades since that time. The 345-acre facility includes a corporate headquarters, a museum, garages, the iconic Pagoda tower, as well as numerous seating areas and suites. It is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 seats, and is among the oldest. Nearly all of the facility was constructed prior to the enactment of the ADA.
In 1999, an individual with a disability attended a practice session during Indianapolis 500 festivities at the Speedway. According to a complaint received by the United States Attorney's Office at the time, the individual claimed that he was denied access to the pit area even though he had a pit pass, and was told it was due to his use of a wheelchair.
As a result, the U.S. Attorney's Office has worked with IMS officials over the course of multiple visits to the Speedway to identify what reforms and restructuring would be required to bring the facility into full compliance. All told, more than 360 features, elements, and spaces at the Speedway were identified as areas to be modified or improved to meet the requirements of the ADA.
Throughout this thorough investigation process, the leadership of IMS has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's Office, and many of the identified issues have already been addressed. Examples include a number of substantial projects over the last few years to redesign or refurbish the IMS corporate headquarters, three major parking areas, a number of vista and grandstand areas, most concession stands, as well as many of the public restroom facilities.
Thursday's announced agreement sets out a path to complete compliance that includes modifying areas throughout the Speedway to improve access, altering various paths of travel, and ensuring that the Speedway's policies and training procedures provide equal access to the fullest extent feasible.
As part of the agreement, IMS will submit a report to U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett every 90 days for the next two years, updating the U.S. Attorney's Office as to the progress that has been made toward completing these remedial measures. The Speedway has also agreed to permit follow-up inspections from DOJ officials, and the agreement stipulates that all future building projects must be in full compliance with the ADA.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Posted by BA Haller at 8:45 PM