Residents who live along the Lake Michigan bluffs are losing their backyards because of accelerated erosion, but donated concrete from work at the Waukegan airport will provide a temporary solution while officials work on a more permanent fix.
Mount Pleasant Village President Jerry Garski was joined Tuesday by Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave and officials from the state Department of Natural Resources to make the announcement at the end of Bryn Mawr Avenue in Lake Park.
Higher-than-usual levels in Lake Michigan, strong waves and unstable bluffs are the culprits of accelerated bluff erosion primarily affecting residents who live in Lake Park. The lack of rain this summer is helping slow the progression, Garski pointed out.
“That’s good, but with everything they’ve lost already, we can’t sit back and wait,” he said.
Garski stressed the concrete is free to any property owner in Racine County experiencing erosion.
Here’s how it will work:
Concrete blocks from Waukegan will be transported by the county back to Wisconsin at no cost to residents while the village assists homeowners with the necessary permits they’ll need to place the blocks – also referred to as rip rap – in the shallow water at the base of the bluff.
Both the materials and the transportation is free, but property owners will need to foot the bill for the crane to hoist the concrete. In most cases, the rip rap will work in conjunction with large boulders that sit in front of the concrete to break waves before they hit shore, slowing the rate of decline.
Garski was unsure about the costs associated with the crane and/or the granite boulders, but said the village is looking into programs for residents that will help alleviate the costs.