Mt. Pleasant residents hope concrete helps with erosion crisis

Posted at 9:54 AM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 18:10:06-04

A total of 10 truck loads of concrete were hauled in to the Village of Mt. Pleasant on Monday to give residents some help with guarding their properties against further erosion.

A rising water level on lake Michigan has caused portions of the bluff below the Lake Park neighborhood, in Mt. Pleasant, to crumble away.

Jerry Garski, Village President, said the lake is currently about four feet higher than normal, which means the routine erosion the water causes to the bluff has accelerated.

"There are people here losing 20, 30, even 40 or 50 feet of property a year," Garski said.

More than a dozen homes located above the lake, on the edge of the bluff, are at risk of becoming uninhabitable and/or falling into the water.

"If we lose more than 50 feet, we're into our road and infrastructure going through this village," he said.

Racine County contracted 10 trucks to bring donated concrete up from a construction project in northern Illinois. The concrete, delivered Monday morning, will be stockpiled at Lake Park. Nearby home owners wishing to use it to protect the bluff below their respective properties can do so.

"This concrete goes down where the water hits the bottom of the bank, to break the wave action," Garski said. "That way, it doesn't erode more of the bank."

Garski said each person wishing to use the concrete must figure out how to haul it on their own. They can use one of their own vehicles or hire a contractor.

He said the village is looking into ways it can obtain financial assistance for people impacted. But Garski said, for the time being, each homeowner is on the hook for the cost of any preventative measures taken.

Garski said the concrete pieces are a short-term fix.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will ultimately be the entity responsible for deciding on whether a long-term fix to the bluff is feasible and, if so, what such a project would require.

"I'm just glad to see somebody stepping up," said Wendy Greene, who lives in the area. "We need to figure something out before people lose their homes."

Greene, who's lived near Lake Park for 24 years, said the rapid erosion in recent years is noticeable.

"You used to be able to walk down to the lake front," she said. "Now, when you get down there, you're standing on rocks. If you're lucky."