Park Honoring Franklin Roosevelt Excludes Disabled People, Suit Says

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tags: FDR, Four Freedoms Park, ADA



A New York park honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used a wheelchair for years, is not fully accessible to disabled people, according to a class-action suit filed against the state and the conservancy that runs the park.

The strongly worded complaint, filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, accuses the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island of the “systemic, discriminatory exclusion” of people who use wheelchairs, scooters and other motorized devices from full access of the park. The complaint says that this is not only in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits discriminating against people with disabilities in public facilities, but also violates state and local statutes.

“Such blatant violation of disability law is tragically ironic in light of the fact that President Roosevelt himself used a wheelchair for mobility after becoming paralyzed from polio,” the lawsuit states.

The four-acre park on the southern tip of the island was designed more than four decades ago by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, before the A.D.A. took effect. But construction did not begin until 2010, as the lawsuit notes, and it opened in 2013.




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