Pike River Improvements Project


Description

The Pike River Improvements Project began in 1997. The Pike River Improvements Project was conceived to meet several goals for Mount Pleasant: flood control, removal of properties and structures from the floodplain, ecological and habitat restoration (fish habitat and prairie/wetland establishment), and recreational corridor development. 

Construction on Phase 1 began in 2001. Various designs and implementation were explored for many years prior to 1997, but the bulk of design and project specific costs were incurred immediately prior to the commencement of construction in 2001. 

Aerial Photography Courtesy of Crispell-Snyder, Inc.

Phases 1-3 were designed and constructed from 2001 to 2006. These Phases stretch from the river headwaters near Spring Steet to just south of Oakes Road. The primary goals of Phases 1-3 included flood control, habitat restoration, and recreational corridor development.

The work resulting from these three Phases has physically removed over 120 properties from the 100-year floodplain. The Storm Water Commission is currently awaiting the approval of a floodplain revision submittal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make the removal of these properties, primarily residences, a regulatory reality. Once approved, affected property owners will no longer be required to purchase flood insurance for their property(s), potentially saving thousands of dollars. Phases 1 & 2 contain roughly 2 miles of off-road paved recreational trail.

Phases 4-5 were constructed from 2007-2010 and are located between 16th Street extended and STH 11. The goals of these two Phases were similar to those in other Phases; flood control, habitat restoration, and recreational corridor development. Phase 4 contains more than 2 miles of recreational trail, achieved with WisDOT, CMAQ, and WDNR Stewardship grant funding. This trail system provides connectivity from existing on-road trails along the STH 20 S. Frontage Road to the Racine County Trail, which is currently paved and runs east-west along the southern boundary of Phase 4. The Racine County Trail ultimately provides connectivity to City of Racine and Kenosha County trails as well.
Within Phases 1-5, the Storm Water Commission has initiated the purchase/obtainment of over 206 acres of land for the purposes of Pike River riparian corridor development. These lands have been obtained via fee simple acquisition as well as conservation easements. A significant portion of the Phase 4 corridor (47.2 acres) was donated to the Village by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., through a joint venture where S.C. Johnson accepted the fill from Phase 4 via the nearby Mech’s North site just north of Waxdale. This close proximity fill site saved the Village hundreds of thousands of dollars in hauling costs. 

In calendar 2011, Phase 6a was completed. This Phase is flanked by two commercial properties with improvements/pavement abutting the top of bank on both sides of the river. Key aspects of this sub-Phase include flood channel expansion and restoration to the maximum extent possible, as well as recreational trail installation. An abandoned sanitary sewer lift station was also demolished as part of the project. 

Approximately 4 acres of land were purchased for this Phase; in addition, approximately 0.7 acres were purchased as permanent conservation/drainage easement. 

Phase 6b was constructed in 2012, and provided similar improvements to Phase 6a, while also extending the paved recreational trail.  Phase 7 is currently scheduled for construction in 2015. The goals for Phase 7 are similar to those in other Phases, which include flood control, habitat restoration and recreational corridor development. Approximately 35 acres of land are scheduled to be acquired as part of the construction of the remaining Phases (7-9). The final two Phases of the project are Phases 8 & 9. These Phases have similar project aspects and goals as the other Phases (flood control, habitat restoration and recreational corridor development) with extra emphasis on ecological and habitat features related to fish biology and prairie/wetland establishment.  Biex-Ramcke Homestead Park, an 85-acre Village park, was also purchased in conjunction with the project to serve as a staging/fill area for the project and an eventual Village park. 

All of the work done to date on the Pike River Improvements Project has been done without borrowing any funds. With the current funds on hand and projected future revenues, there are no plans to borrow any funds to complete all nine Phases of the project. In addition, it is projected that the current ERU charge will not need to be raised to facilitate the project, as well as other future capital projects and annual operating budgets. 

The pre-project (2001) fund balance of $5,480,233 that made this funding situation possible was due to the foresight of former Storm Water Drainage District Commissioners Charles Creuziger, James Shea, and James O’Connor. Their vision allowed this fund balance to be accrued so the Pike River Improvements Project could be constructed for Village residents to enjoy with the least possible economic impact to the Village’s taxpayers.