The Village of Mount Pleasant Strategic Plan 2020-2024 took one year to complete. Beginning in 2018, seven elected officials, 36 appointed officials, one administrator, seven department heads, 20 managers, three outside consultants and approximately 140 employees spent six months creating the vision, mission and values utilizing input from the public. Each one of the village’s committees, commissions and boards participated.
Three public open houses were held in 2018 and 2019 where numerous citizens assisted with reviewing the vision, mission, values and developing goals. A citizen survey further helped clarify the goals. Each year since 2019, the village updates its strategies and tactics to stay true to the adopted vision, mission, values and goals. This commentary is the first in a series that will report to the public on the status of Mount Pleasant’s commitment to the community.
The Village of Mount Pleasant five-year strategic plan defines seven strategic goals that the village must attain. Goal Number V states that the village is dedicated to Maintain a Commitment to Improving Environmental Assets and Amenities—Build Out Our River Parks.
Several years ago, the village completed the Pike River Improvements Project. The 20-year long, $20 million-dollar river restoration project controls flooding, enhances aquatic habitat, improves water quality and reverses the progressive deterioration of this urbanizing stream. Native prairie vegetation and trees were planted and have begun to thrive throughout the project area, providing a natural corridor along the river. Integral to the project was the construction of the Pike River Pathway, which provides recreational access to the river corridor, as well as other regional trail systems in Racine and Kenosha counties.
The village is continuing its commitment to environmental stewardship by focusing on two other critical Mount Pleasant waterways, the Hood’s Creek and the Lamparek Creek.
The Hood’s Creek runs across approximately five miles from southwest to northeast through the western and northern portions of the village, ultimately into the Village of Caledonia. Under the direction of the village’s Storm Water Drainage Utility, staff began designing several phases of the Hood’s Creek Improvements Project. The first phase includes river corridor restoration between International Drive and Washington Avenue, and focuses on aquatic and terrestrial habitat improvements, water quality enhancements, and storm water management improvements to promote development adjacent to the creek. In addition, conceptual designs are also being prepared for future recreational trails through the corridor. Subsequent phases north of Washington Avenue will focus on the creation of wetland “banks”, where large acreages of poorly drained lands subject to flooding are converted back to pre-settlement conditions, restoring original wetland/ecological habitats. These restored areas are then dedicated in perpetuity as enhanced environmental corridors.
The Lamparek Creek drains from the Foxconn development area in the southwest corner of the village east to the Pike River along the village’s southern limits. The village has partnered with the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network and Racine County to begin design of creek corridor improvements along this two-mile long waterway. Improvements will again include aquatic and terrestrial habitat improvements, water quality enhancements and a focus on reversing the degradation of the stream. Another key component of this project will be the eventual construction of a recreational trail, which will provide connectivity between the Pike River Pathway and the trail networks surrounding the Foxconn development and joining with Kenosha County trails.
The village is steadfastly committed to forming robust partnerships with other government agencies, non-profits and like-minded organizations in order to complete these projects, and continuously applies for and receives grant money to fund design and construction. Of the roughly $20 million spent on the Pike River Improvements, approximately $9 million was funded by grants/outside sources.
By committing to Goal V of the Strategic Plan — Maintain a Commitment to Improving Environmental Assets and Amenities—Build out Our River Parks — expect great things in the Village of Mount Pleasant’s dedication to the environment.
Maureen Murphy is Mount Pleasant’s village administrator.