DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – It’s a deal that’s meant to help the disabled enjoy events at Joe Louis Arena as well as Detroit’s planned new home for the Detroit Red Wings.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement with Olympia Entertainment, Inc. under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for extensive changes to improve physical accessibility and opportunities for people with disabilities at The Joe, which is the current home of Detroit’s hockey team.
The settlement agreement also requires Olympia to work closely with an independent licensed architect, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to ensure that Olympia’s planned new events center will be designed, constructed, and operated in full compliance with the ADA.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the settlement agreement resolves an investigation following a complaint filed by a patron with a disability who was unable to attend Red Wing games at The Joe.
“This agreement provides people with disabilities with much improved access to enjoy events at Joe Louis Arena, and perhaps even more importantly, ensures full and equal opportunity at Olympia’s new Events Center for generations of hockey fans to come” said McQuade, in a media release. “The Department of Justice is committed to knocking down these types of barriers, and we commend Olympia for its cooperation and efforts to do the same.”
Under the settlement agreement, Olympia will provide 45 wheelchair accessible seats, and an equal number of companion seats at Joe Louis Arena, with substantial improvements in the lines of sight over standing spectators.
Tickets for the accessible and companion seats will be offered at prices proportionate to the number of general seats in each price category, and will be able to be purchased in the same manner as general seats, including online through Ticketmaster.
According to McQuade, Olympia has also agreed to improve accessibility in restrooms, concession stands, restaurants, and clubs; improve signage throughout Joe Louis Arena; provide additional Assistive Listening Devices; and annually train its employees on the ADA.
The settlement agreement also requires Olympia to submit to inspections by an Independent Licensed Architect to allow the U.S. Attorney’s Office to monitor all stages of the design and construction process for Olympia’s new Events Center which is planned to house Olympia’s future entertainment operations, including Red Wings games, to ensure full ADA compliance.
Under the agreement, all operating policies and procedures for the new Events Center concerning the ADA also will have to be approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The agreement was reached under Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public accommodations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will actively monitor compliance with the agreement.
For more information about Title III visit www.ada.gov or call the U.S. Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY) or the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights hotline at 313-226-9151.
The new arena is planned to open in 2017.