A plan to revitalize Southport Park is moving forward thanks to a partnership between the Southport Park Association and the City of Kenosha.
Southport Park Association, a nonprofit connecting people, parks and preservation, received approval for its Watershed Rejuvenation Project at Southport Park, 7501 2nd. Ave., during Monday’s Board of Parks Commission meeting at City Hall.
SPA is seeking funding sources through grants and contributions from the private sector.
Last year, the group received a $87,000 grant by the Fund for Lake Michigan for phase one of the project. It included improvements to the storm water drainage system at the historic Southport Park Beach House and design of a landscape plan to mitigate watershed pollution along the shoreline.
Monday’s meeting revealed Southport Park landscaping plans featuring a naturalistic prairie garden, improved walking and cycling pathways, upgraded signage, and expansion of ADA accessibility.
The goal is to make Southport Park — a valuable piece of lakefront property — a destination for local residents and tourists.
“Kenosha is a coastal community,” said Lydia Spottswood, a member of the SPA Board of Directors. “We’ve always seen the shoreline as a crucial part of the lifeblood of our city. It’s a treasure we want to continue developing.”
As the Southport Park Beach House continues its restoration, Southport Park has gone relatively untouched and underutilized for decades.
SPA’s vision includes a complete overhaul connecting the beach house with the park. It’s backed by city officials, who are committed with assistance by extending the parking lot and walkways.
The city’s grant writer is also helping with locating possible funding sources.
“I hope it comes to fruition,” said Ald. Jan Michalski, who approved the project on Monday. “It would make it much more of a destination, not just people looking at a beach house. The central playground would get a lot of use. It would be a wonderful place for families to stroll around.”
The approval allows SPA to move forward with a clear direction.
“We’d like to have this done in the next two years,” Spottswood said. “The beach house is moving right along. The big thing right now is focusing on utilization of the park plan and park space.”
The Southport Park Beach House was listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 8, 2003.