Fund for Lake Michigan Invests in Racine Area

Milwaukee WI – The Fund for Lake Michigan has made another round of innovative and collaborative investments in Wisconsin’s future.  

Twenty projects -- totaling $1.25 million in grants and leveraging an additional $5.36 million in federal, local and private dollars -- will help build and educate Wisconsin’s workforce, support diverse communities, and strengthen economies throughout the state while improving Lake Michigan water quality.

“Our targeted investments pay dividends by reducing flooding, improving beach quality, boosting local economies and safeguarding Lake Michigan, a source of drinking water for millions," said Vicki Elkin, Executive Director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. "Whether working in rural areas or in the heart of our cities the Fund helps Wisconsin in countless ways." 

In the Racine area, tangible improvements to parks and beaches will benefit hikers, swimmers, anglers, boaters, and other visitors.

At Racine’s Colonial Park, known for its wooded trails along the banks of the Root River, ravine improvements will keep sediment and pollution from entering the river.  In addition, the development of plans for restoring a wetland on the historic floodplain promises further enhancements to this popular area.

North Beach, which lies between the Racine Zoo and the Racine harbor, has grown into a nationally-recognized beach destination and a model of what beach improvements can do for water quality and economic development. The grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan will enhance a key section of the beach near the Kids’ Cove playground.  

“With over 200,000 people visiting it each year, North Beach is important to our families and to our local economy,” said Racine Mayor John Dickert. “I can’t say enough about the Fund for Lake Michigan’s role in helping Racine leverage its ecological, economic, and community resources.”

Nearby, in the Village of Mount Pleasant, transforming a fallow field along the Bartlett Branch of the Pike River into a prairie will add interest and habitat while reducing storm water runoff into Bartlett Creek.  New trails will connect this restored area to Smolenski Park, a 72-acre, handicap accessible recreational area that includes playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, a softball diamond, hiking trails, and a wide variety of wildlife.

Read the complete list of Fund for Lake Michigan grants.

The Fund for Lake Michigan was established in 2011 as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club. The Fund supports a variety of projects to help Lake Michigan and its tributaries -- including beach improvements, habitat restoration, shoreline enhancements and run off control. To date, the Fund has awarded $16.5 million in grants designed to boost recreation, protect the environment and spur economic development in the Milwaukee area and Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast.

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