Milwaukee Co. supervisor calls for lifeguards, added safety after drownings at McKinley Beach

NOW: Milwaukee Co. supervisor calls for lifeguards, added safety after drownings at McKinley Beach

NEXT:

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- There’s a push for lifeguards after three recent drownings along Milwaukee’s lakefront.

County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman is calling to add lifeguards at McKinley Beach, and to hire some at Bradford Beach.

“Lifeguards can make the difference, they can save lives," Wasserman said.

Due to low staffing and low recruitment last year, and COVID-19 this year, lifeguards were not staffed at county beaches.

“Unfortunately we’re mid-August, and to get the lifeguards for the next few weeks is really near to almost impossible," he added. "But we’ve missed an opportunity and I’m really worried about what’s going to happen.”

Since July 18, three people have drowned at McKinley.

And as of Wednesday, August 8, the beach is closed to swimming for the rest of the year, according to Milwaukee County Parks Director of Administration and Planning Jeremy Lucas.

Lucas said the Parks and the City of Milwaukee Health Department made this decision because of dangerous rip tides.

Current signage already reads, swim at your own risk.

Lucas added that lifeguards have not been staffed at McKinley for more than a decade.

For Milwaukee mom, Deborah Harris, safety is first.

“It’s not anybody to really, actually see what’s going on at every aspect of the beach," Harris said.

In 2019, Milwaukee County Parks spent $41,335 on lifeguards at Bradford Beach.

CBS 58 is told a request has been made to include them in the 2021 county budget.

“I understand it’s COVID, I understand there’s a financial crisis but money can’t buy lives," Wasserman said.

The county executive's budget is usually released on October 1st for board approval.

Share this article: