Grassroots effort launched to ‘Save The Sea Wall’

by Marianne Gasaway

A grassroots effort to repair and preserve Clear Lake’s iconic Sea Wall is underway.  

Former State Senator Betty Soukup, who has made Clear Lake her retirement community, is spearheading an effort to raise funds for repair and preservation of the 1936 Sea Wall built by the Works Progress Administration.

“I’m a change maker, I’d say.  And people have been talking about the deteriorating condition of the Sea Wall since last summer with no result.    This historic,  national treasure needs to be protected and I will reach out to any and all contacts I have and do everything I can to get some help,” said Soukup.

Historians report the Clear Lake Sea Wall was A WPA project completed on July 1, 1936. The split-boulder retaining wall located just west of City Park was commissioned by state conservation officials and constructed by workmen from a transient camp located north of Mason City.  In recent years and months the Sea Wall’s mortar has been crumbling and rocks have either fallen or been pulled from the wall.  

Soukup spent eight years in city government in eastern Iowa before being elected to the Iowa Senate.  She went on to work three years in the federal government with FEMA and USDA.  Prior to her retirement, she was a foundation director for Mayo.

“I know how to raise money,” she said.  “There is tremendous community enthusiasm and commitment for this project. Even if we have to match a grant amount I have every reason to believe we will be successful.”

Soukup said her first step was to join with a small group of interested persons and meet with Jim Jackson, from the city’s Parks Department Tuesday to learn if there have been any plans to repair the wall.

“It’s a city treasure and something we need to be proud of and preserve,” she said. ‘Save the Sea Wall’ is our motto.”

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