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Bradford Beach proposal prompts discussion about equity and inclusion

Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 23:21:31-05

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Lakefront Development Advisory Commission voted to recommend a proposal for a rooftop bar and restaurant at Bradford Beach Wednesday night following a discussion about equity and inclusion concerns.

Under the plan, the dock would expand to the second floor with a bar and additional seating. People could walk up to either bar on the first or second floor and order, a server could come to them, depending on the demand. Developers stressed the tables would be open to the public regardless of if they ordered food or drink.

Commission Chair Bill Lynch said there were about 280 written submissions about the plan. Some people expressed concerns about who would feel welcome at the beach.

"My concern is when I go over to that part of the lake, when I go over to the lakefront, it just seems that at Bradford Beach, at that area of the lake, I consider it the white area, and when you go further south it's Black or African American," said attorney James Hall. "The lakefront to me is much too segregated."

"I don’t know if we can change behavior other than to make certain that spaces are made open to everyone, [that] menus are for everyone," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Felesia Martin.

Luke Cholodecki is one of the developers and stressed the idea of the second-floor bar and restaurant is not to be exclusive, but instead to provide an offering for more people.

"You can understand if you came to that beach right now and you wanted to eat, and you saw these volleyball players playing, running into the bar, going back to their volleyball game, maybe you don’t want to go there and sit down there with your kids to eat, I don't know," Cholodecki said. "Our location that we're proposing on the second floor, we’re hoping will be inviting to anyone who strolls down that path."

After about two hours, the commission voted to recommend the plan with some conditions for promoting inclusion. A spokesperson said the Parks Department has the final approval.

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