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Mount Pleasant homes inch closer to cliffs of Lake Michigan as erosion problem persists

Posted at 7:08 AM, May 05, 2017

Village leaders in Mount Pleasant have decided they can no longer wait for the possibility of federal money to help combat bluff erosion in the neighborhood around Lake Park.

More than a dozen homes are at risk of falling into Lake Michigan. The bluff continues to erode due to the rising water level below.

"You can lose a 20 foot chunk of land all at once," said Tony Beyer, Village Engineer.

The Village hopes to eventually receive some financial help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to shore up the bluff.

A spokesperson for the Corps previously said the earliest any such money could come is this fall.

That funding could only be used to protect public property/services, not homes or private buildings.

Village President David DeGroot said Mount Pleasant's Storm Water Drainage Commission will next week begin the process of considering whether to fund repairs on its own.

Much like the federal government, the village has the ability to fund a solution that protects public property, like streets, the public right of way, or utility infrastructure.

"We're at a point now where we have to do what we can to secure our own infrastructure, more than anything," DeGroot said.

DeGroot added homeowners in the area have received authorization from the DNR to do emergency repairs on their own.

Racine County previously donated concrete for homeowners hoping to protect the bluff from further erosion.

DeGroot said a timeline on possible emergency measures by the village was tough to speculate on, but the hope is to do something "as soon as we can."

According to Beyer, a lasting fix, like diminishing the steep drop-off of the bluff and the building of a retaining wall, could be pricey.

"Any project of any significance, as far as linear footage, can very quickly approach 7 figures," Beyer said. 

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