Lawsuit argues Lee County benches are not ADA compliant

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Lee County is facing a lawsuit that argues more than 100 benches are not in compliance with the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Improving the location of the benches along Cleveland Avenue could cost taxpayers over $1.5 million, but county commissioners said they have already accounted for it in this year’s budget.

“We budgeted before this lawsuit ever came up. $2.5 million to improve all of our bus shelters, to try to make sure all of those were compliant with the ADA, so it’s something we’ve been very proactive about,” commissioner Brian Hamman said.

The lawsuit claims the benches are either in the grass or not connected to a sidewalk. County commissioners voted unanimously to have a third party assess the benches.

Lee County resident Jerry Tucke uses a wheelchair to get around and said, “It’s difficult not only getting there, but it’s difficult waiting in the bushes for a bus.”

The county has until September 2024 to make the changes, but Hamman said they will work on the improvements as soon as possible.

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