HAMMOND | Hammond Port Authority officials are hoping an initial $40,000 planning grant from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program will help them combat inland beach erosion near the Hammond Marina.
Ice buildup over the winters has created openings in the bluff areas near the bird sanctuary trail that's west of the marina, said Milan Kruszynski, the port authority's director.
“The voids concern me, especially when people are walking up there through the bird sanctuary,” Kruszynski said. "It's just adjacent and outside the sanctuary itself. It's a safety concern.”
The planning and engineering stages are required before applying for additional grants, he said. The authority matched the $40,000 grant from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program. Two public meetings also have been held on the proposal.
“It's not going to be a cheap undertaking — that's for sure," Kruszynski said.
"The best news that I think we had coming out of the meeting ... was the public, which was represented, looked at the situation and understood what's taking place and gave their approval to the conceptual plan of how we are going to look at attacking it."
A number of plans will be looked at, Kruszynski said. Fixes could range from reinforcing underneath the bluff where the washout is taking place or providing in-water wave blocking.
A main concern from the public was how the project would impact access in and through the bird sanctuary area. But indications are the work being proposed won't have any major effect on the sanctuary itself, he said.
"The best way is to take the first step," Kruszynski said of planning how to handle the beach erosion. "This is the first step in the whole process."