BUSINESS AND FUN: Madison Police Chief Dan Thurston, above left, and assistant chief, Major Jeremey Perkins, grilled hot dogs before the City Council meeting at Johnson Lake on Tuesday. The city was observing National Night Out with the outdoor meeting, meal and a concert by the community band. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
BUSINESS AND FUN: Madison Police Chief Dan Thurston, above left, and assistant chief, Major Jeremey Perkins, grilled hot dogs before the City Council meeting at Johnson Lake on Tuesday. The city was observing National Night Out with the outdoor meeting, meal and a concert by the community band. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has closed its files on a settlement agreement years after identifying more than 300 violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Madison parks and public buildings.

In July 2010, city officials entered into an agreement to begin a number of administrative actions - such as appointing an ADA coordinator for the city - and bring areas in the city up to ADA compliance.

Madison officials have worked to come into compliance with standards over the past three years, the city's ADA Coordinator Bob Cooke said during Tuesday's council meeting. But, he said, there still is work to be done.

After communicating with the Department of Justice, city officials found out that as long as steps were taken to correct the issues that not all of the citations had to be fixed immediately. Addressing the problems all at once would not have been financially feasible, Cooke said.

"We learned that as long as a good faith effort and positive progress was being made to correct these deficiencies, immediate and complete compliance was not expected," Cooke said.

In a letter received Monday, the Department of Justice let city officials know that the files have been closed on the settlement agreement after seeing the progress over the years.

"Essentially, it means that (the Department of Justice) will not be closely monitoring the city's progress in ADA compliance," Cooke said. "Does that mean we will stop our efforts in ADA compliance and improvements for our handicapped citizens and visitors? Of course not."

Cooke also told the council a "Commission for the Handicapped" had been created by ordinance during the administration of former Mayor Warren Rucker and the City Council more than 30 years ago. Even though the group never seemed to have met, Cooke hopes to review the ordinance and put the commission into use in the future.

Also during the meeting, Madison resident Robin Henderson questioned city officials about ongoing earthwork near the riverfront.

Henderson said it seemed as if dirt had been dumped in the area, then removed just a few days later.

The city's FEMA coordinator Ken Washer said the project was part of a riverfront stabilization project, which had been awarded FEMA funding a few years ago. After delays because of high water last summer, the project finally began this year.

The project is expected to stabilize the riverfront. The city filed for the FEMA grant after severe storms caused flooding in the area in 2011. Sedam Contracting was awarded the job after some tweaking of the project.

When the grant was first discussed, Washer said it allowed dirt fill to the ordinary low water levels on the river. The grant award was changed to allow fill to the ordinary high water line only over the years, but workers failed to note the difference and installed fill dirt to the low water level.

"We had to take that part out and regroup," Washer said.

The dirt has been removed since that time and that section is now complete. Crews have moved on to sections two and three at this point, Washer said. Those two sections could be complete by Labor Day.

The project work will continue from Poplar Street to the mud flat on Vaughn Drive after the holiday, Washer said.

In other business:

- City Council members held the second reading of an ordinance amending the city code on streets and sidewalks. There was no discussion.

The Council also held the second reading of an ordinance amending the city's zoning map. Councilman Pete Backus said the change in zoning includes several parcels on the north side of the 800 block of West Main Street from Local Business to Specialty District. The change would allow residents to rebuild a home or start a business in that area.

A third reading on both bills will be heard during the next City Council meeting.

• Andrew Forrester, the city's community relations coordinator, told the Council three of the four information kiosks have been installed in the downtown area. Each sign features a map of the downtown area and businesses. The last sign to be installed will be placed at the corner at Vaughn Drive and West Street.

Forrester also said a Movie in the Park event will be hosted at Bicentennial Park on Friday. The movie, Frozen, will begin around 9 p.m.