Zoo path along Racine’s lakefront still in danger | Local News

RACINE — Mother Nature is continuing to prove her strength and relentlessness as the City of Racine endeavors to save the bike path along the lakefront behind Racine Zoo. The path is still in sad shape after it suffered severe damage from erosion during a storm nearly two years ago.

The Racine City Council voted in favor of nearly $60,000 in emergency repairs to the zoo path on Tuesday, in the hopes of protecting it from further erosion until major repairs can be undertaken later in 2022.

Tom Molbeck, the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Services, said the emergency repairs were necessary to save the path from further erosion.

“It is my understanding the pieces or material that is being used will also be able to be used in the final project itself,” Molbeck said.

With winter storms likely in the imminent future, Molbeck hoped to have approval for the repairs before any further damage was done.

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The emergency repairs, for which $59,400 was approved to be spent, are expected to begin very soon — depending on several factors, one of which is the weather.






Lake Michigan erosion

Erosion can be clearly seen just below the Zoo Beach walking path, which was officially closed on Aug. 4, 2020; this photo was taken the following day.


Lauren Henning



The zoo path was among the many shorefront locations from Kenosha to Milwaukee, and on Lake Michigan’s eastern coast in Michigan, that were damaged during a severe storm in January 2020 that caused several homes to fall into the lake or need to be torn down.

Due to even further erosion, the path was closed in August 2020 because of safety concerns. It was not reopened until September 2021 after a fence was installed to keep people away from the edge.

The Smith Group was contracted to re-engineer the path.



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The goal is not just to put back what was there, but to put something there that will withstand storms for decades to come.

However, the re-engineering of the path is still in draft stage and there has not yet been a final cost estimate.