CHICAGO - Rogers Park residents are reacting with shock after learning the city plans to permanently close two of the neighborhood's popular beaches.
It is part of the ongoing battle against huge waves and beach erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Some residents believe the city is going too far.
Colton Connor says he will miss taking his dog to the Rogers Avenue Beach when the warm weather returns.
"It's disappointing. We love coming out here in the summer. Not very crowded compared to some of the other beaches,” Connor said.
City officials say Rogers Avenue Beach and Howard Beach –- about two blocks apart -- can no longer be salvaged after last weekend's massive winter storm, which combined with historically high lake levels produced waves nearly 20 feet high.
"After this weekend, they let us know the lake has spoken. There was significant damage there and they're not going to be able to leave those sections open of beach,” said 49th Ward Alderman Maria Hadden.
Throughout the winter, the city has been dumping thousands of tons of stone and riprap to protect the beaches, closing off access to the water and recreation.
Community activist Tom Heineman believes the city is overreacting by closing the beaches, showing us a protected corner of Rogers Avenue Beach still sporting some sand.
"I respect what they're doing, but I think they could try a little harder to accommodate at least one beach on our three block stretch of land here,” Heineman said.
"Most people don't know that we exist and we're a really nice kept secret. But I think [we were] kept a secret too long because there wasn't any money put into the upkeep,” said Rogers Park resident Dr. Linda Butts.
The alderman says when lake levels eventually drop, there's a chance the beaches could be restored with federal funding. But that could take years.
"This is a significant loss to lose that lake access. To lose that beach access. It's a defining feature of the Rogers Park community and has been for decades,” Alderman Hadden said.