By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 27, 2021 at 3:31 PM

Plans to add a container bar to the upper deck of the Bradford Beach Pavilion will not move forward this summer. But the plan is not dead, according to the parks department.

Last year, The Dock restaurant in the pavilion released plans to add the bar, made from a steel shipping container, raising concerns among some about the visual aesthetics of a bar made from a shipping container, the weight of the container on the upper level of the pavilion and the potential curtailing of public access to the upper level.

Last summer, Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission approved the container bar, an approval required because the pavilion is located in a city historic district.

It was also more recently discussed by the Lakefront Development Advisory Committee, and in March the County Parks department issued a statement on the plan.

WUWM's Susan Bence reports that Sarah Toomsen, Milwaukee County Parks Manager of Planning and Development, told the Lakefront Development Advisory Commission Tuesday that the plan will not move ahead this year.

“It appears that the operations at Bradford Beach will remain the window service that has been provided,” Toomsen told the commission.

“Milwaukee County hasn’t issued any permits for construction of anything on site – it would require city and county review before we would issue that permit for construction.”

Bence added that The Dock owners applied a coating on the pavilion’s concrete roof without permission.

“It was done without our knowledge,” Toomsen said.

“We have also notified The Dock that they are responsible to submit a remediation plan since it is the coating that is part of the problem."

Structural capacity remains in question after an engineering study commissioned by The Dock’s owners suggested that water infiltration is causing problems with the concrete upper deck.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, in whose district the beach is located, told the Shepherd Express recently that he is, “very concerned about the safety issues" noted in the report, which he said, “raises many red flags.”

Toomsen echoed concerns for the integrity of the structure, "Not only for summer conditions but also snow load, winter winds, etc. ... I can assure you that, that is on my mind," she told the commission.

"We have to remedy the surface before we do anything that would modify the space."

The plan, however, is not dead, according to the parks department.

"It won’t be happening this summer," Parks Marketing Communications Manager Ian Everett told OnMilwaukee, "as we want to ensure the issue with the seal coating they put on the upper level is resolved before we review any plans for their container bar, but the idea is not dead forever."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.