Home teeters over cliff along Lake Michigan

Could fall any day due to erosion

By WGBA Staff

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wisc. - A home in Kenosha County could plunge into Lake Michigan at any day now due to shoreline erosion.
 

The couple that lived in a lakefront house along 17th St. in Somers moved out about a year ago, after their side porch fell right into Lake Michigan. Now, about 10 feet of their home hangs right over the edge.

"They had a beautiful home there at one time," said neighbor Mike Gosselin. "One evening the winds just came up, took it all off and the grounds just went. Now it just keeps going further and further in."

Gosselin has lived next door to the house teetering on a 50 foot cliff for more than forty years.

He's watched as large portions of the shoreline have fallen into Lake Michigan exposing the home down to its foundation.

"It's come in a good hundred feet or so already," Gosselin said of the crumbling shoreline.

Rising lake levels creating big waves are to blame for the natural erosion in Racine and Kenosha counties, but those who have evacuated the condemned Somers home find themselves in a difficult position. Marge Lindgren told TODAY'S TMJ4 that repair costs are too expensive, their insurance doesn't cover earth movement and they can't demolish the house because they still owe a $100,000 on the property.

"They can't let it fall in the lake," said Gosselin.

If it does go tumbling down, the Lindgrens would be fined for contaminating Lake Michigan's federally protected water.

"It's an older home so there's going to be lead paint and asbestos and things like that," Gosselin said.

Any day now another direct hit by a big wave could make the decision for them.

"I'm really sorry because the insurance didn't help them," said Gosselin. "I'm still a good 50, 60 feet away so I'm not too worried about it in my lifetime, but there are other people along this lake in far worse conditions than I am.

We have reached out to Village of Somers about what could possibly be done. So far, we have not heard back, but in the past, emergency managers have said homeowners are responsible for private property.

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