MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolutionto fund safety improvements at McKinley Beach, which officials closed after multiple drownings, near-drownings and riptide dangers in 2020.
The resolution directs $712,190 "for the purpose of contracting with a vendor for the McKinley Beach restoration and safety project," according to the resolution.
The resolution states the 2020 budget funded a safety study at the beach to stop drownings in the future, among other concerns. It earmarked $10,000 to retain a professional to conduct the study. The county board then allocated an additional $70,000 to study beach conditions and swimming safety.
"Initial findings show that water depth at the jetty line has increased by approximately four feet since the creation of the beach in 1989, this increased depth, as well as multiple wave current factors, have created dangerous conditions that cannot be visually observed by swimmers," according to the resolution.
The people who carried out the study identified five solutions, from new constructed elements within the lake to a permanent beach house.
On Thursday, the county decided to go with a semi-annual beach grooming and a quinquennial bathymetric survey of the breakwater and swim area.
They estimate planning and designing the improvements to cost $144,860 and construction to cost $567,330.
The board hopes plans can be completed by the beginning of 2023. Construction might not be done until the end of 2024, and so the beach would be closed until the 2025 season.
The resolution now heads to the desk of County Executive David Crowley.
One of the sponsors of the resolution, Supervisor Sheldon A. Wasserman, issued the following statement:
“This is long overdue, but the board has finally acted, and repairs are coming to McKinley Beach. We know this beach is a beloved part of Milwaukee’s lakefront, and the sooner we restore safe swimming conditions, the sooner we can reopen the beach to the public. It is absolutely our responsibility as a County Board to ensure the safety of beachgoers. Today, we are taking action to fulfill that responsibility and I am proud to have led this effort.”