What is a universal / inclusive park?
Moss Universal Park is set to be the first truly universal park in the United States. It will be universally inclusive – meaning there will be places to play, support fitness and gather together for people of all ages and abilities. Moss Universal Park will accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, parents pushing strollers, or families bringing a cooler for their picnic.
The space will exemplify universal inclusion that preserves, protects and enhances the natural landscape of the park, and hopefully creates a “new normal” for the development of inclusive parks across the country.
Why is this needed in Milwaukee County / Wauwatosa? Are there many families with people who are disabled specifically here?
There is a great need to increase opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy recreation in our community. In southeastern Wisconsin, there are 190,000 people living with a disability – including 23,000 youth – and we know that, nationally, 54% of people with disabilities engage in no leisure time.
With this stark reality in mind, The Ability Center, Milwaukee County Parks and our partners have come together to create equitable opportunities for people of all abilities to play, support their fitness and gather together.
When will the project be completed?
The Moss Universal Park redevelopment project is a big undertaking, and we’ll tackle it in two phases. Phase one, which we’re kicking off today with this groundbreaking, will improve the east side of the park – transforming the clubhouse, baseball fields, playground, and parking lot into inclusive spaces. Then, during phase two, we will improve the west side of the park to include universally inclusive paths, fitness and play pockets, and an inclusive challenge course. Phase two is expected to be completed in the Summer of 2025.
Who can use this park?
Everybody, of all abilities, will be able to have fun at Moss Universal Park. The 18-acre park will allow individuals of all ages and abilities to play, improve their fitness, enjoy athletics and picnics and everything in between.
What is your fundraising goal?
The Ability Center is leading a $10 million effort to transform Moss Universal Park.
How big is the Moss Universal Park?
Moss Universal Park will offer 18 acres of recreational space for individuals of all ages and abilities.
Will trees be removed to redesign the Moss Universal Park?
The Ability Center, Milwaukee County Parks, and Hoppe Tree Service have collaborated to ensure a respect for the trees, wildlife, and nature were a priority. Only trees that were dead, in very poor condition, or had low likelihood of survival (ash) were removed.
Milwaukee County Parks has been engaged from the start and continues to be key partner. They have been involved and appreciate the number of trees we were able to save by conducting the inventory and assessment. The on going tree maintenance and care will increase safety and accessibility for the community to enjoy the park.
In 2019 a Tree Inventory and Assessment was completed. Each tree was given a unique ID number to help limit the number of trees that would need to be removed.
Utilization of growth regulators, to enhance the health of the root systems, and soil injected fertilization will create healthy soil. These tools will ensure the existing trees will thrive through construction.
What features are included in the park?
Moss Universal Park will include a clubhouse with universally inclusive restrooms, sensory rooms, wellness and community rooms, and seasonal equipment rental. A half-mile of universally inclusive trails will lead to enhanced baseball fields, play pockets, fitness pockets, a family fitness area, picnic areas, and a challenge course. The existing parking lot will be replaced and expanded to fit more vehicles and accommodate accessible transport.
Will there be equipment rental?
Seasonal, adaptive equipment will be available for free rental including bikes, trail chairs, and cross country skis for inclusive enjoyment of the park year round.
Where is the park located?
Moss Universal Park is located in Wauwatosa, just off the Zoo Interchange at 10300 W. Wisconsin Avenue. In June, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors re-named the park in recognition of a transformative gift from the George F. Moss Foundation Trust to support this redevelopment project and the creation of a universally inclusive space for people of all abilities to recreate together.
The park is across the street from Froedtert’s Rehab Hospital and St. Camillus retirement community and within a mile of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, including Children’s Wisconsin and Ronald McDonald House. It is just 5 miles from the Zablocki VA and highly accessible to public transportation via Transit Plus, MCTS Connect 1 & Bus Rapid Transit.