Follow us

RACINE — A section of the Lake Michigan Pathway officially reopened this week, spectacular views and all.

The paved pathway, popular with cyclists and walkers, was heavily damaged in a January 2020 winter storm that saw record-high lake levels and high winds.

Lake Michigan Pathway
The Lake Michigan Pathway in the City of Racine is extremely popular with cyclists, runners and walkers. It officially reopened this week after reconstruction work that started in December 2022. – Credit: Paul Holley

The erosion affected about 1,000 feet of the pathway between Zoo Beach and the Racine Zoo.

The pathway was closed until a temporary fence could be installed but it closed again last year over concerns about more soil erosion.

Under a bright blue sky on Tuesday morning, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Michigan Boulevard and Augusta Street signaling the project’s long-awaited completion.

“We measured twice and cut once. We wanted to make sure we got it right,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

The $1.13 million reconstruction project included removing and stabilizing the soil beneath the pathway, and stabilizing the bluff behind the zoo property.

A new concrete access point was built along the trail that allows people with disabilities to easily reach the beach.

Lake Michigan Pathway
A new concrete access point along a portion of the reconstructed Lake Michigan Pathway serves as protection against potential erosion caused by lake wave action. – Credit: Paul Holley

Funding for the work came from the city and a $75,000 grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

Tim Wagner, an engineer at SmithGroup of Madison, the project’s designer, said the new access point serves as a barrier against potential erosion. The engineers also anchored limestone blocks along the trail to create an earthen berm. The berm has been planted with native grasses. The work also included removing a nearby old concrete dock structure that dated back to the zoo property’s days as a brickyard more than a century ago.

The construction work is intended to protect the site from potential wave damage and future erosion, he added. C.W. Purpero of Oak Creek was the project’s construction contractor.

Lake Michigan Pathway
Approximately 1,000 feet of the Lake Michigan Pathway behind the Racine Zoo property was reopened after extensive reconstruction. The pathway suffered serious erosion damage in a 2020 storm. – Credit: Paul Holley

Tom Molbeck, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department director, said the project work started in December 2022.

Thanks to favorable weather, it was completed more than two months ahead of schedule.

“This (project) completes the trail and its beautiful views of Lake Michigan,” said Mason. “It is a huge asset for our community.”

The Lake Michigan Pathway

The Lake Michigan Pathway, which runs about 10 miles along the lakefront, connects to other marked bicycle trails in eastern Racine County. Read more about local cycling opportunities in the Wisco Spotlight Lake Michigan edition.

Culture and the arts

The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, has a rich culture section with arts & entertainment, food, shopping and more. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.

Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...

2 replies on “The view is back; storm-damaged Lake Michigan Pathway reopens”

Comments are closed.