ALPHARETTA, Ga. – In order for Alpharetta to bring all of its facilities into compliance with federal laws governing disability access, the city expects to pay roughly $36,000.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, states that “a public entity shall operate each service, program or activity so that the service, program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.”
The federal government will no longer allow federal money to be given to entities that are not up to ADA code or don’t have a plan to implement the fixes. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is also requiring the upgrades before it disburses money.
“We are required under the federal ADA law to bring our facilities into compliance,” said Richard McLeod, Alpharetta community development director.
City staff expects it to take three years of effort and about $12,000 per year to bring the city entirely up to code, however Councilman Chris Owens advocates implementing the changes as soon as possible.
“It would be a wise investment today rather than making our citizens wait,” said Owens.
The bathhouses at Wills Park and the Greenway compose most of the expected costs, with more than $10,000 each. The money was not budgeted, however many of the changes are relatively small.
The new City Hall will be ADA compliant.
Other cities in North Fulton are mostly ADA compliant.
Milton, being a new city with few city-owned properties, is almost entirely accessible, said Wade Green, Milton’s chief building inspector.
“It’s something we keep in front of,” he said of the regulations.
Milton’s City Hall, which is leased, was made compliant when the city offices moved in. The new public safety building and all future buildings will also be complaint.
Johns Creek’s City Hall was brought up to code when the city was created, said Johns Creek Spokeswoman Rosemary Taylor.
“Since we started, we made all the buildings over at Autrey Mill ADA compliant,” she said. “That was a big chunk. It had been a rustic place.”
The city court and police headquarters were also brought up to code.
“Because we are a newer city, many of our city-owned or leased buildings were constructed ADA compliant,” said Johns Creek spokesman Doug Nurse. “As we build new sidewalks and make intersection improvements around the city we take advantage of those opportunities to construct additional ADA improvements.”