By Wyatt Goolsby
BIG SPRING - After more than a year, a lawsuit against the City of Big Spring is finally over. Now, city officials have to get all public facilities in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, city officials told NewsWest 9 on Tuesday alot of that work has already been done.
In early October, all the plantiffs (who are residents with physical disabilities) have signed off on an agreement with the City of Big Spring. Officials say they have been working to upgrade lots of public facilities and walkways throughout the city. Nevertheless, there are certain buildings, like the Municipal Auditorium, that are not a hundred percent up to code with ADA standards. So, officials said they are keeping the building closed until they can find a way to fully upgrade it.
In the past year, officials have been working on curb ramps for a hundred intersections throughout Big Spring. The city now has budgeted more than 20,000 dollars per year to upgrade streets to make them ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible. In addition, they've installed automatic doors at the entrance to City Hall. One of the main problems, of course, is the fact that a lot of these public buildings within downtown are decades and decades old. While it may seem like it's only recently that officials have been working on these projects, officials said it's been in the works for some time.
"We were two-thirds the way through the recommendations of the Federal Highway Administration when they filed the lawsuit. For a number of years, people were doing the best they could, but there wasn't a full-time City Attorney on staff and it wasn't something that people kept up with, so now we are back on track, and it think we're in good shape," Linda Sjogren, the Big Spring City Attorney, explained.
At this point, there are still intersections that need to be renovated. That work is expected to be ongoing for the next few months. In the meantime, city officials are still assessing as to how to upgrade the Municipal Auditorium, the City Pool, and the Police Department.