Milwaukee County's Bradford Beach Now America's Most Inclusive Beach
County Executive David Crowley today joined colleagues from the Milwaukee County Parks Department, Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities and The Ability Center to celebrate the completion of a comprehensive accessibility effort that has put Bradford Beach on the map as the most inclusive beach in the country. Accessibility enhancements include new accessible beach wheelchairs, permanent ramps and mobi-mat paths allowing all patrons to access the sand and water. The accessibility improvements are the result of a five-year initiative, Ramp Up, aimed at making community assets across Milwaukee County more accessible for people with disabilities.
“By ensuring Bradford Beach is accessible to all Milwaukee County residents, we are working towards making our community an equitable place for all,” said County Executive David Crowley. “We know that more than 25 percent of households in Milwaukee County have at least one family member who has a disability. Ramp Up at Bradford Beach is critical to our effort to ensure that all residents have equal access to our community assets and services.”
The result of a unique public-private partnership, inclusive of Milwaukee County Parks, Kelly’s Greenscapes, of Sussex and The Ability Center, the effort was funded in part by a community campaign, as well as support from former Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities, The Ability Center and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Upgrading Bradford Beach to make it fully accessible has been a complex task. The beach, developed in the early 20th century, was designed when ADA equipment and other modern amenities were not standard components of construction projects. Now, approaching the 30th anniversary of the ADA on Sunday, July 26, true accessibility is possible for all beachgoers.
"Milwaukee may not be considered a beach town by most people in the country, but this transformation rivals and even surpasses the accessibility of many of the most famous beaches in the world," said Damian Buchman, founder and director of The Ability Center and Ramp Up MKE. "As we reflect on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is a fitting time to celebrate this project, its partners and the independence it will grant people of all abilities to full enjoy Bradford Beach."
For more information about Ramp Up and accessibility features now available at Bradford Beach, visit: https://tacwi.org/programs.