CHICAGO (CBS) — Rough weather combined with continued erosion is decimating stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline, but the damage is especially noticeable at three Rogers Park beaches, which are now fenced off for safety.
Residents say they are beyond frustrated because Band-Aid solutions are not working, and there is no federal money to help stem the tide of damage on the horizon.
Crumbling concrete, with some pieces literally falling in the lake, make Juneway, Rogers and Howard beaches look almost like war zones.
“We’re looking at a canyon that was created from this perpetual erosion over our beach,” said Tonio Andreina, a sustainable landscape designer who has lived across the street from one of the beaches for three years.
Adding devastation to the destruction is a stretch of concrete that was just put in last year.
“Look at the landscape. This used to be an area where kids would play every day. Families would come,” said Andreina.
“It’s not the perfect fix. A lot of residents knew that it wasn’t going to be lasting, but it was what the park district could do last summer with the funding that they had,” said Ald. Maria Haddon (49th).
Haddon said she is working with the Chicago Park District and Army Corp of Engineers to find a shore up the shoreline solution.
“These are short term impacts of what is a larger problem,” Haddon said.
But the hazards are now such the the park district just installed chain link fences at the beaches, closing Juneway and limiting access to Rogers and Howard.
But not everyone heeds the barrier. Haddon said she is not sure whether that might be a liability issue.
“But certainly it’s a concern that we have brought to the attention of our administration here in the city and the park district,” said Haddon.
Haddon, a park district spokesperson and Army Corps of Engineers officials say they have requested federal funds to conduct a shoreline study but have been denied by congress and the president.
“That’s a problem,” said Rogers Park resident Tom Heineman. “Because we are not a republican state, and we have a republican president and a republican congress. That’s an issue.”
Heineman and a local park advisory council have been fighting for a long term plan for years.
“The money goes in Lincoln Park,” he said. “It goes on the North Shore. Rogers Park kind of gets short changed.”
“A long term, sustainable solution to something like we see here would be thinking about this as a holistic, sustainable landscape design initiative,” said Andreina.
“I don’t imagine we’re looking at a quick fix even though we’ll be looking at the long term plans,” said Haddon.