SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Mayor Paul TenHaken and the city of Sioux Falls are being sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The suit is filed on behalf of Sioux Falls resident Robert Elliot. It claims that the city has failed “to design, construct, maintain public facilities and enforce city ordinances related to sidewalks for ADA compliance, access ways, sidewalks and roads that are fully accessible to, and independently usable by persons with disabilities.”
The lawsuit also claims that barriers also violate city ordinance.
The city released this statement late Tuesday afternoon: “The city of Sioux Falls does not comment on pending litigation.”
The lawsuit was filed in June and amended in September.
According to the court documents, Elliot uses a motorized wheelchair. He has found numerous obstacles as he travels on sidewalks and streets, the complaint alleges.
At least 4,400 ADA violations (complaints) have been reported to the city, according to the court document. The plaintiff claims that violations were noted over at least three years.
The city has failed to resolve or repair the complaints within the required period of time under law, the lawsuit claims.
Areas of complaints/violations specifically included in the lawsuit include sections of South Center Avenue, South Minnesota Avenue, East 20th Street and others. The lawsuit also claims that barriers violate city ordinance.
The lawsuit would require the city to inspect, photograph and measure barriers that violate the ADA to fully remedy what it claims are discriminatory conditions.
The lawsuit also claims the city has the ability to pay for repairs and construction. As an example of ability to pay, it cites the several million dollars the city received in federal COVID funds in 2021 and that the city spent zero of that infrastructure aid money on ADA compliance.