RACINE/KENOSHA COUNTIES — Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave on Thursday, June 2nd announced that a meeting will take place involving state and federal officials on Tuesday, June 7th amid severe erosion along Lake Michigan in both Racine and Kenosha counties — affecting homeowners in Caledonia, Mount Pleasant, Racine and Kenosha.
This “Technical Assistance Community Meeting” will take place at the Village of Mount Pleasant Auditorium at 8811 Campus Drive in Mount Pleasant from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on June 7th.
Affected property owners and local officials are invited to attend.
“It’s taking your land, is what it’s doing, you know? Some of these people got to tear their houses down or they get a fine for it going into the water. So either you got to get rid of the house or pay the fine for it to fall in the water. So it’s critical that people are starting to take care of these problems,” Randy Vassh with Vassh Excavating and Grating said.
Vassh on Thursday was out in Caledonia -- helping a homeowner who claims he's lost 30 feet of property over the last two years due to the rapid erosion. Vassh said his crew has dumped 65 truckloads of quarry stone onto the property to prevent further erosion.
According to Delagrave, the purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for residents and officials to engage with subject matter experts on issues related to the bluff erosion and to learn more about various options that may be available including steps homeowners can take to protect their property.
A statement from Delagrave to FOX6 News included the following objectives for this meeting:
- Developing a common understanding of the problem and the options available to residents and the affected municipalities.
- Providing an opportunity for residents and local officials to ask questions of experts in the fields of coastal management, engineering, and hazard mitigation.
- Providing facts about state and federal programs for management and mitigation of coastal erosion.
- Providing some high-level advice to homeowners about what steps to take if they want to take action on their own, such as how to find an engineering firm, what has to be considered before hiring a consultant, and how to talk to a consultant.
Agencies invited include:
- Wisconsin Emergency Management
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
- US Army Corps of Engineers
- Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
- W Sea Grant Institute
- Gene R. Clark, Coastal Engineering Specialist
- UW Sea Grant Institute-Lake Superior Field Office
- David M. Mickelson, Senior Scientist and Emeritus Professor, Department of Geoscience-University of Wisconsin-Madison
“This is a very serious problem,” Delagrave said in the statement. “I want those affected by this problem to be aware of all the options and having these subject matter experts gathered in one room is a step in that direction.”
Kenosha County Sheriff's officials are encouraging residents in their county to attend this meeting.
In a statement issued to FOX6 News, officials said there are three properties in Kenosha County that are currently known to be affected by this severe bluff erosion.
The statement from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department reads, in part:
"County Executive Jim Kreuser, and the Office of Emergency Management, a part of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, has been staying informed about the erosion of the bluffs along the Lake Michigan Shoreline in the Village of Somers. Village of Somers officials and the Kenosha County Land Information Office have also been involved and aware of the conditions.
It should be emphasized, that at this time, no funds have been identified to assist the private property owners whose properties are affected. The speakers at this meeting are available as subject matter experts and will offer their advice for ways forward for the property owners."