North Side Residents Worry Over Beach Erosion, Officials Say it Will Cost Millions to Repair

“It’s going to require probably millions of dollars to repair,” said 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore

Chicago residents in Rogers Park continue to worry about the potential danger of the beach erosion they say keeps worsening and are pressing city officials for solutions.

Neighbors say they’re not just worried about the beach erosion at Howard Street Beach, but also the collapsing retaining walls which are right next to a playground for children.

Residents say it’s evident that sinkholes are growing wider and deeper and retaining walls keep tipping over along the beaches of Rogers Park.

“This is dangerous!” said resident Francine McTeer. “This is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Neighbors are worried not only about the deteriorating lakefront but also a playground right above one of the beaches.

“We have children that play in this park, kids don’t know,” said McTeer. “This looks exciting to me as a kid.”

Neighbors say the damage has gotten worse over the years, especially this past winter with rising water levels.

“We’ve been on the Park Department for years to get attention to this to avoid this stage where the whole beach is crumbling,” said another resident Tom Heineman.

About a month ago, the Park District decided to add a fence because the retaining wall had fallen farther into the beach.

“We’ve had divers come out from the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Heineman.

Local Alderman Joe Moore is hoping the Army Corps of Engineers will provide emergency funding.

“It’s going to require probably millions of dollars to repair,” said 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. “Money that the Park District doesn’t have.”

Since federal money could take a while, Alderman Moore is pushing for a short and long-term plan.

“Hopefully the coverage today will help encourage my partners at City Hall and the Park District to come up with that plan,” said Moore.

Neighbors want to see a solution sooner rather than later.

“It’s heartbreaking, I’d hate to see some child get hurt here,” expressed McTeer. “And it looks like it’s going to happen.”

The Park District said there is not much they can do while the water’s high, but the Park District did not immediately respond to NBC 5's request for comment on a short or long-term plan Wednesday.

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