RACINE — Racine County has secured an $80,000 grant that will allow Belle Harbor Marina to be filled in to make a larger riverside redevelopment site.

The Fund for Lake Michigan, which is bestowing the grant, and local officials announced the grant at a press conference Friday morning at Belle Harbor, 32 Main St.

County officials explained the grant will be used to close the opening in the river wall at Belle Harbor, which will be done this summer and fall. The County expects to use the spoils from the Pershing Park boat launch basin dredging project to fill in the harbor with soil. That will increase the size of Belle Harbor from 3.3 acres of hard surface now to 4.1 acres.

At the press conference, County Executive Jim Ladwig said the Belle Harbor lagoon is now too shallow with sediments to use without dredging, being only 18-24 inches deep. Filling it provides a better redevelopment site, he said.

“I feel it’s important to have a real high-quality development to be the gateway to (Downtown) Racine,” Ladwig said.

State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, a longtime advocate for Racine riverfront development, said redevelopment of Belle Harbor Marina fits into the overall RootWorks revitalization plan.

“I think it will be one of the key redevelopment areas” to revitalize the Downtown Root River area, Mason said.

Marina days past

Belle Harbor Marina has about 40 slips, about half of them on the river and half in the lagoon.

The County was obligated under the previous Reefpoint operating license to provide winter boat storage. When Case-New Holland (now CNH Industrial) developed land alongside Root River for a new office complex, the county had to find another option; it bought Belle Harbor from private owners in 1990 for $1.3 million.

But when the County bought Reefpoint Marina in early 2012 and the previous operating license expired, the County was no longer obligated to provide that winter storage. So Belle Harbor became a prospective redevelopment site.

The Fund for Lake Michigan was established in conjunction with the resolution in 2008 of disputes concerning the Oak Creek Power Plant and Elm Road Generating Station in southeastern Wisconsin. The agreement provides for payments of $4 million each year from 2011-35 to fund Lake Michigan-related projects.

At Belle Harbor, the Fund’s Executive Director Vick Elkin said the group has given more than 70 grants totaling $7.5 million, helping to create jobs and increase tax base.

(12) comments


The biggest money maker for Racine is jails and prisons. Come to Racine on the lake and enjoy a drink at the lakefront. We have plenty of cells.


Racine will never be what our Mayor wants it to be. They can't even rent out Festival hall anymore. I can see Roma lodge moving Italian fest in the future.


Now thats a big waste of money.


The problem is if we give up on the one nice thing about this city, what then?


The ONE nice thing? *WOW* Are YOU lost.

Before government officials became heavily involved and issued worthless promises and tens of millions in debt - the private Marinas and Businesses thrived. The Early days of Salmon-A-Rama were filled with people.

Jim Ladwig is putting private Marinas out of operation, and Bars and Restaurants - because they can't compete with his money losing taxpayer subsidized Marina. Maybe you forgot:

Pugh Marina
Azarian Marina
Racine Yacht Club
Harbor Lite Yacht Club
Fifth Street Yacht Club
Racine Riverside Marina
Larsen Marine

It's time to send Jim Ladwig back to the private sector, so he has more time to spend with his business, Mulligan's.

Rick Ray Earle
Rick Ray Earle

ggodmuls provides tons of information that none of us would ever look up. He does all the research for us, dumps it in our laps, and we look the other way to the liars and thieves in local government.

Speaking of which, wasn't there supposed to be an announcement from the Cable Commission or Ethics Board on Mary Osterman days ago? What happened?


Sure, a lot of research. But it's not wise to pay too much attention to the ramblings of paranoiacs.


Helding left the meeting briefly prior to the first vote, visibly frustrated by the course of discussion.Asked after the meeting about why he left, Helding said the whole discussion regarding BelleTV is a “tempest in teacup and a distraction from the coming budgetary storm.“We are facing large cuts to our essential services and a TV station should be the last thing we worry about, if we worry about it all,” he said.

I can only report what I read and hear.


From The Way-Back Time Machine:

November 30, 1986, From The New York Times:

HOPES are running high in this southern Wisconsin city of 86,000 for the success of a $35 million project on the Lake Michigan shorefront. The city and Racine County have already begun their parts of the enterprise and a private developer will crank up its project early next year.

The creation of 1,000 private boat slips alone is expected to bring new life to the city's lackluster economy.

The Racine County Board first proposed a residential/marina project more than two years ago to bolster the city's eroding economic base. But a program to finance the project eluded the planners.

In return for the right to build on what had been public property, the county expects to collect $10 million from Edgewater over the 20-year-term of its license to rent slip and winter-storage space, as well as $300,000 a year in property taxes.

''Without question the project is affecting the entire downtown,'' said County Executive Leonard Ziolkowski. ''It is much more than just a marina. It is the biggest public project in county history.''

The county will continue to be responsible for breakwater construction and dredging and will pay the $750,000 cost of design and engineering work. The city is also financing the construction now under way of a $4 million lakeside festival center and conference building.

The development of the harbor and its environs is expected to generate 420 jobs and inject $29.5 million a year in the local economy, according to a University of Wisconsin study.


Where is the Money?

Where are the Jobs?

Why is the County SPENDING money in this area INSTEAD of COLLECTING MONEY?

Why are City of Racine Officials worried about a financial storm?

Comment deleted.

You hang on my every Word.

Word on the Street is that there is a "budgetary storm" on the horizon for Racine.

How is this possible when tens of millions of $$$$ from all levels, Federal, State, County and Local have been thrown at Downtown Racine and the Harbor? When the taxes that Downtown should be paying have been shifted onto the backs of others? Why does the City of Racine cut street lights, yet operate two drawbridges for pleasure boaters when Jim Ladwig operates a largely empty Marina and a Restaurant that can't even afford to pay rent? Why is Jim and John Doubling Down?

Where is the return? Where are the jobs? Where is the prosperity for all?

the voice of reason



The Fund for Lake Michigan invests in strategies and projects that have the potential for demonstrable near-term and long-term impact. Our grants focus on projects that achieve tangible results including protecting critical natural habitats and making water resources more swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

Would anyone swim in the Racine Harbor? A Harbor into which too many Boaters shamelessly throw garbage, empty sewage holding tanks, and leak gas and oil into? This fund is being used for more commercial development that will lead to more pollution. The Harbor and it's development has NEVER generated a positive return and is totally dependent upon endless taxpayer subsidies. Where are the FEES for Boaters? Why do the People of Racine pay to maintain the railings and walks around the Harbor, and not those who live in the developments of that area.That is THEIR street to maintain.

Grant Focus: The Fund for Lake Michigan's grant making is focused on projects in southeastern Wisconsin that will:

1. Enhance the ecological health of near shore and coastal areas and the rivers of southeastern Wisconsin through habitat preservation and restoration.

2. Improve the quality of the water flowing into Lake Michigan through pollutant reductions including toxins and nutrients such as phosphorus.

That's simply not true in the case of Belle Harbor, which is a contradiction of terms.

Trustees of the Oversight Committee include utility representatives from We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric Company and Wisconsin Public Power Inc., and representatives from Clean Wisconsin, the Sierra Club, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Where does the grant money come from? What is the source? It has to be WE Energies, whose income is derived from selling electricity. SO in effect, this is a stealth tax levied upon the people in their WE Energy bills to be used by government to develop the Lake Front. It is unsustainable and unethical.

Of course, I recognize that the County has to do something with it. Obviously, Jim Ladwig received no offers to develop it because there are no profits there to be made, so this is his next play. Reef Point Marina can't pay for itself, and will NEVER generate any income to fund County operations or provide tax-relief. As America progresses through the effects of Peak-Oil, one day wasting fuel to drive in circles on Lake Michigan will cease. The future of the Harbor is a polluted Marshland.

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