Settlement Reached to Provide Equal Access to FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island

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A woman using a power chair is at the base of a granite stairway in a park.
Plaintiff Edith Prentiss at the Four Freedoms Park. Photo by Joe Rappaport.

New York, NY—November 29, 2017—In resolution of a federal lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) last March, the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have agreed to the installation of a lift at the front steps of the monument built in 2012 to honor Franklin D. Roosevelt. The settlement also includes other accessibility improvements to the Four Freedoms Park furthering full access for visitors with mobility disabilities.

The agreement settles a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Plaintiffs the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID) and three New York City residents who use wheelchairs. In addition to installing the lift, the Conservancy has also agreed to repair and regularly maintain the Park’s ground surfaces so that they remain smooth, and will undertake modifications to the bathrooms and eating areas in the Park within the next year. The Conservancy made the decision to structurally close off the section at the tip of the monument, known as the ha-ha.

“The Memorial is a tribute to the only U.S. President to use a wheelchair for mobility while in office – we look forward to seeing these important accessibility improvements to the park,” said Edith Prentiss, vice president of legislative affairs for Disabled In Action, a plaintiff in the case.

“Just as Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech still reverberates, we hope that this simple message reverberates as well: If you build it, you must make it accessible to all,” said Joseph G. Rappaport, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled.

A copy of the Agreement is available below.

About Disability Rights Advocates

Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit

About Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID)

Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, founded in 1956, is part of the independent living movement, which seeks to empower all people with disabilities to live full, independent lives. Our staff, composed largely of people with disabilities, offers services and runs advocacy campaigns to make housing, transportation and other aspects of daily living accessible to all. BCID has worked closely on several accessibility campaigns with Disability Rights Advocates. DRA represents us in BCID v. Bloomberg, which required the City of New York to agree to new evacuation procedures for people with disabilities after Hurricane Sandy; and Taxis For All Campaign v. Taxi and Limousine Commission, a landmark decision requiring 50% of New York City’s yellow taxis to be accessible by 2020. For more information, visit


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