Gina Coluantoni, Dean Davis, and James Piet, Plaintiffs, and their attorneys Disability Rights Center - NH, are very pleased to have resolved the Phenix Hall litigation with the Ciborowski Trust, achieving not only the goals of the lawsuit—accessibility to Phenix Hall businesses, such as Bagel Works —but broader accessibility as well to other businesses in Downtown Concord.
According to Aaron Ginsberg, DRC lead attorney representing the plaintiffs, “The Settlement Agreement we reached requires the Ciborowski Trust to make the Phenix Hall accessible, even if accessibility is not achieved through Complete Streets.” Ginsberg added, “ As a result of all these efforts not only will the Phenix Hall businesses become accessible, but so will at least 16 other Concord Main Street storefronts. In addition to Ginsberg, plaintiffs were represented by DRC attorneys Cindy Robertson and James Ziegra.
Accessibility to the Phenix Hall businesses, without the necessity of litigation, is the outcome that DRC had sought and hoped for when DRC first learned about the planned renovations 3 1/2 years ago. DRC had reached out to the Ciborowski Trust to work collaboratively, but ultimately litigation became necessary to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The broader accessibility that now appears likely throughout downtown Concord is a huge value added to DRC’s efforts, according to Dick Cohen, DRC’s Executive Director. The suit and what led to the suit increased DRC’s attention to the importance of making all downtown businesses accessible. Last year DRC began advocating that all downtown storefronts be made accessible through the exciting Complete Streets Project. Until then the Complete Streets Project had not considered storefront accessibility. “I believe our efforts and the efforts of others , including city officials, coupled with the court’s ADA accessibility rulings in the Phenix Hall case, raised the sensitivity and awareness of the city and many other private businesses about the importance of accessible storefronts,” Cohen said. “Accessibility is not only a civil rights issue for people with disabilities, but it enables businesses to welcome seniors who have trouble negotiating stairs, parents pushing baby strollers, and people with temporary impairments. It makes businesses and downtowns safer, more usable and inclusive for all people, which are the primary goals of both Complete Streets and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
November 9, 2013 Concord Monitor: Settlement reached in Phenix Hall accessibility lawsuit
The Concord Monitor also did an editorial: In legal settlement, good news for downtown patrons
April 10, 2013, Concord Monitor: Disability advocates clear first hurdle in Phenix Hall lawsuit
August 7, 2012, Press Release: Plaintiffs Reach Settlement with Concord Arts & Crafts, one of the Parties in the Phenix Hall Lawsuit
September 14, 2011 Press release: Disabilities Rights Center brings ADA Civil Rights Action on Behalf of Individuals with Physical Disabilities
September 15, 2011, Concord Monitor: Disability advocates sue Concord developer, Bagel Works
1-23-11 Concord Monitor: Protesters decry cafe steps: disability advocates call for accessibility
12-30-2010 Concord Monitor Op Ed by Richard Cohen, DRC Executive Director: Let's not forget what ADA is actually for: Phenix Hall should welcome everyone
Letters sent to Phenix Hall owner Mark Ciborowski regarding the accessibility of his building in Concord.