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Cedar Rapids and Department of Justice agree to easier access for those with disabilities

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

The City of Cedar Rapids and the Department of Justice have come to an agreement which requires to city to make sure those with disabilities can take full advantage of the city's services.

The city is going to repair or replace thousands of sidewalks as well as make sure city parking lots and restrooms are accessible.

Part of the plan also includes enhancing accessibility in the parks, one Cedar Rapids family told us they are excited about that.

Six-year-old Rylie loves the park, but right now there is not much she can do there.

Rylie has Type Two Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has never stood on her own or walked.

 "It's pretty frustrating, it's frustrating for her which is just heartbreaking for me there's not, I mean there's not an immediate...I love you too Ry, she stopped to say. There's not an immediate fix, it's not like I can snap my fingers and make it better for her," Rylie's mother Stephanie Erbacher said.

Rylie told me she can't do almost anything at the park the way they're currently situated, and that's something that makes her feel left out.

"It's really sad because I don't get to do anything they do and they don't even talk to me, it makes me really sad," Rylie said.

One of the key issues Rylie has at the park is the sidewalk.

"You just kind of push her back but in anything she would have to have a little extra assistance to get over this, because of the, it's not level all the way down," Stephanie told me as she lifted Rylie's wheel chair over the uneven sidewalk.

Issues string over to the restrooms which do not have doors or much space.

Rylie's favorite part of the park are the swings.

Since she cannot support herself in a regular swing, she is forced to use the child's swing, which she has outgrown.

Rylie told me when she uses the child's swing her feet often get stuck, in addition to this, her wheelchair can't move properly on the wood chips.

"Ground covering down as opposed to wood chips, is a lot better and a lot more conducive to movement for them," said Stephanie.

All of the issues mentioned are changes Stephanie hopes are made with this agreement.

 "The agreement with the city of Cedar Rapids is a huge step forward for the City of Cedar Rapids, the city should be commended, and city of Cedar Rapids citizens will notice a difference in better access for those with handicaps," said Kevin Techau, US Attorney with the Northern District of Iowa.

The changes are going to be made over the next four years.

We're told the city is in charge of the cost for this agreement, so it will be taken out of their budget.

The agreement was made under Project Civic Access.

We are told Cedar Rapids voluntarily entered into the Civic Access agreement with the Department of Justice, which makes sure the city is compliant with the American's with Disabilities Act.

Cedar Rapids will be the 215th city to complete this process nationwide.

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