beach rehab

City gets dollars to rehab beach at Samuel Myers Park

2012-08-28T20:28:00Z 2013-12-18T14:13:41Z City gets dollars to rehab beach at Samuel Myers ParkCARA SPOTO Journal Times

RACINE — From a distance the lakeshore at Samuel Myers Park may look like a great place to go swimming, but get close to the waterline and you’ll notice that it’s a lot different than the city’s well-tended North and Zoo beaches.

The sand is darker. The water collects in shallow pools and the remnants of decaying algae, and the bacteria it draws, are ever present. People — mostly boaters and jet skiers — still use the beach, which is located off 11th Street just south of Gateway Technical College’s campus, but city officials have long wanted to rehabilitate the area in hopes of making it safer for recreation.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency the city could achieve its goal.

On Tuesday Mayor John Dickert with EPA Regional Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman announced that Samuel Myers Park is one of four beaches in Southern Wisconsin that will benefit from a $500,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.

Awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the money will pay for redesign projects aimed at reducing potential threats to human health caused by bacteria. The redesign could include installing rain gardens to retain and filter contaminated stormwater; encouraging dune formation to both reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff and also keep away gulls; and modifying beach grooming practices.

While design work can start now, the earliest any actual engineering or earth work could occur would be sometime next spring or summer.

“I hope that when that work is finished that sign over there that says ‘unsafe for swimming’ can be taken down,” Hedman said Monday, pointing toward the park’s canoe launch.

The EPA is awarding $2.6 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants for beaches in Michigan and Wisconsin this year. UW-Oshkosh will also be receiving another $500,000 grant to implement redesigns at beaches in Northern Wisconsin. The other beaches in Southern Wisconsin are located in Kenosha and South Milwaukee.

With gulls squawking softly in the background Tuesday, Dickert said the Samuel Myers redesign will not only benefit beachgoers but also the local economy.

“When people ask us what does it really mean to keep our water clean ... I say it means $5 million dollars in tourism to the City of Racine,” he said.

Later, during a brief tour of the beach, Director of the City of Racine Health Department Laboratory Julie Kinzelman, who will be the project manager for the redesign projects at the beaches in Southern Wisconsin, talked about the problems the city and the university hope to address — like the matted algae covering some parts of the beach.

“Just because there’s sand there,” she said, “doesn’t make it a beach.”

Copyright 2015 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. kevinsmom68
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    kevinsmom68 - August 29, 2012 7:45 pm
    i bet dickhert ate the dirt
  2. You Wish
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    You Wish - August 29, 2012 5:27 pm
    Nice rolled up socks Mr. "Mayor" (you see, the word Mayor is in quotes because he is THE farthest thing from a Mayor that this bleeding city has EVER seen).

    When you are done playing in the sand, do you see that lake behind you? Please jump in it!!
  3. Django
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    Django - August 29, 2012 2:13 pm
    Please, someone, please, get rid of the lying thief John Dickert. We cannot afford his massive lawsuits and malfeasance.

    The 11th Street "beach" is a no brainer. Decades ago the city closed off the breakwaters because of erosion concerns. Now the water is brackish. Duh! Idiots creating problems with our money and then using more of our money to "solve": the problems that they created in the first place.

    We cannot afford a liar for a mayor. Our legal bills are insane because of the lying mayor.
  4. DrD
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    DrD - August 29, 2012 9:30 am
    They need to fix the fix when nature knows what is really needed, water current. I am new to the area but it seems to me one great beach is enough. Open the breakwater up some and the problem is solved.

    If you really want to fix things, remove the dam on the Root river.
  5. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - August 29, 2012 8:57 am
    As much as I my issues with the Mayor's rushing to sell Water and who will benefit (what FOJ) from RootWorks the State said 5 million comes from Tourism to the County. Mayor Dickert (Who the Paper misquoted) said due in Part to the Lake.
    Will this be the case when say an act of God happens and say only 1 million gallons of raw sewage hits the Root River then the lake?
  6. PrimeTime69
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    PrimeTime69 - August 29, 2012 8:50 am
    Ridiculous that this is what Dickert chooses to spend his time and resources on.....seriously? The statements made are ridicoulous!! How could he say that this water will mean 5 million dollars in tourism and a boost to our economy???? Where? How? He makes statements like this because most residents of Racine are just plain to stupid to pay attention or think clearly.... This, coming from Dickert who sued his own city of racine for 100K, this coming from the mayor of the highest unemployment city in the state, Racine's crime numbers and shootings are through the roof, but lets just pretend they're not happening, we've got the best tasting water and 500K marble bathrooms in City Hall. Pathetic.
  7. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - August 29, 2012 8:35 am
    Mayor Dickert want to dump 8-10 Million Gallions a day of "Treated Sewage" into Lake Michigan after the fiasco of the NSP program do you trust him to do this right?
  8. toomuch
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    toomuch - August 29, 2012 7:08 am
    Looks like wasteful spending to me! I doubt they can re-engineer the area for a mere $500,000.

    First, we already have a very functional, good quality beach.

    Second, as already mentioned, the breakwater impacts this area and causes stagnant water.

    Third, The water level of the great lakes has dropped dramatically and continues to drop. The recent drought sure didn't help.

    With the breakwaters in place and the declining water levels, this will never be a functional beach no mater how much money you throw at it.

    Dickert should have declined the grant but I'm sure he couldn't help himself from accepting "free" government dollars.
  9. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - August 29, 2012 7:05 am
    Another view:
  10. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - August 29, 2012 6:09 am
    Racine's beaches are great - and this will be another great beach when finished. DFS is correct that the water there needs to be allowed to circulate - hopefully they will do something about that. It is also clear that the area needs to be dredged.

    Where's the crazy lady demanding tha Racine construct an expensive pool? Tell her to go to the Beach - Lake Michigan is the pool. Just watch out for the turds Tom Barrett dumps in the Lake. When is Milwaukee going to be held accountable for using Lake Michigan as a giant toilet? Liberals care about the environment? Tom Barrett proves otherwise!
  11. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - August 29, 2012 3:40 am
    The Mayor talked about the importance of Clean Water, how will that happen when he wants to dump 8-10 million gallons a day of "treated" Sewage into the lake from his deal to sell water?
  12. DFS
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    DFS - August 28, 2012 9:47 pm
    Heck you can even see the breakwater repair in the pictures right behind Mayor Dickert's head, the lighter colored rocks are the repair nearest to shore
  13. DFS
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    DFS - August 28, 2012 9:44 pm
    A few years ago the breakwater rocks right at the north end of the breakwater were collapsing at the start of the shore of Myers beach nearest the ramp from the parking lot to the sand. The failing breakwater allowed for more water to flow into the protected area and and created a circular current through the whole basin, the allege was less the standing pools were gone the sand didn't stink. It was much better than I had seen any time in the past 20 years. And then "they" repaired the breakwater the flow stopped and it got stinky again I hope the redesign works or maybe just blow a hole in the breakwater a hundred or so feet from shore and let the water flow though.
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