City officials told aldermen Monday that repairing damage to Evanston’s lakefront from storms and high water levels may costs millions of dollars, although some funding to cover part of the expense may be available from federal grants.

Lara Biggs

City Engineer Lara Biggs said there has been significant damage at many locations along the lakefront — with stone revetment walls starting to fail in some areas and water from the lake spilling into parkland west of the walls.

Flooding at Elliot Park.

In addition rocks in some of the groins that extend out into the lake have shifted and some of the metal pilings in the groins also have shifted.

Fire Division Chief and Emergency Preparedness Manager Kimberly Kull said preliminary estimates indicate that repairs to the revetments could cost nearly $6 million and rebuilding the underlayment fo the revetment system could cost $34 million while adding additional groin walls to mitigate future damage could add over $8 million in costs.

Kimberly Kull.

She said there is potential for the city to apply jointly with other shoreline communities in Cook county for federal aid that could pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of such work.

The next step in the process would be to contract with a consulting firm to more precisely determine what work needs to be done and to provide contract documents for the repairs.

Interim City Manager Erika Storlie said she would seek approval from aldermen at an upcoming meeting to hire the SmithGroup consulting firm that the city has worked with on prior lakefront projects on a sole-source basis to do the consulting work so that the work could be completed this year.

Related story

Urgent action to stabilize lakefront proposed (2/7/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Northwestern Beach

    Make a deal with Northwestern.  Give them their beach.  Cash their check.  Spend that money and focus on all of the other city-owned beaches that are being swallowed by the lake.

  2. Shoreline Concerns

    While passing through Wisconsin on Wednesday, I heard that their Democratic governor is applying to the federal government for assistance on their substantial Lake Michigan shoreline for identical reasons.  Isn’t this something that our governor should be doing, as opposed to putting the expense of these applications on local governments like Evanston, financially strapped Chicago, and every lakefront community up to the state line?

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