Graham Kilmer

Bradford Beach Gets Accessibility Upgrades

Milwaukee County's most popular beach is now accessible to those in a wheelchair all the way to the water.

By - Jul 24th, 2020 04:26 pm
Accessibility improvements come to Bradford Beach. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County.

Accessibility improvements come to Bradford Beach. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County.

You can now roll in a wheelchair from N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., across Bradford Beach and right into Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee County Parks installed ramps and mats that run all the way to the shoreline at Bradford Beach, making it accessible for persons with disabilities.

The new infrastructure is another partnership between Milwaukee County and entities in the private and non-profit sector. It’s part of the Ability Center’s RampUp initiative to increase inclusive recreational opportunities.

“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 Ability Center founder and CEO Damian Buchman

The non-profit Ability Center is working to increase recreational inclusivity for disabled people in Milwaukee County, thereby raising their quality of life. In 2015, the organization built a temporary boardwalk on Bradford Beach and brought down special wheelchairs that could move through the sand as part of a first phase to improve the beach’s accessibility.

The non-profit partnered with parks department and engineering firm R.A. Smith on the project. Funding cane from the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and former County Executive Chris Abele.

At the beach now are a series of ramps and seasonal boardwalks made out of Mobi-Mats, which is a non-slip material designed to increase accessibility. The funding has also provided for a number of beach-accessible wheelchairs.

“We know that more than 25 percent of households in Milwaukee County have at least one family member who has a disability. RampUp at Bradford Beach is critical to our effort to ensure that all residents have equal access to our community assets and services,” said County Executive David Crowley.

This weekend will mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects people from discrimination on the basis of disabilities. Buchman said, “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 fully enjoy Bradford Beach.”


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Categories: Health, Parks

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