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County at a 'crossroads,' Delagrave says

The Journal Times - 6/13/2024

Jun. 13—STURTEVANT — The fentanyl crisis, mental health resources, updates to the 911 system and marina repairs were among the top priorities for Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.

During his 10th State of the County address, Delagrave said "we are at a crossroads."

County resources

Delagrave said the county needs to allocate more resources to mental health and to ending the fentanyl crisis.

Sixty-three people died from drug overdoses in Racine County in 2023, according to the county's 2023 Public Health Report.

"We need to get on the front end of it in terms of education and how we are identifying individuals who are at risk and making sure that they don't, you know, fall into (using) fentanyl," Delagrave said.

He also said both the county and the world are experiencing a "pandemic" of mental health issues.

"Projections indicate that by 2040, one in two people worldwide will be affected by mental health challenges," Delagrave said in his address at the end of last month. "For Racine County, this means 100,000 residents."

Infrastructure needs

Delagrave said the countywide 911 system needs upgrades, calling investments in new technology a necessity, not a luxury, for residents.

He said that as of June, the county has selected a vendor for the new 911 system and is working to determine the plan for establishing the new system.

Delagrave said he expects the plan will be finalized in August.

The county also faces a "critical situation" with its Sheriff Substation, which houses the county 911 department, according to Delagrave.

He said the building will require significant updates and repairs.

"Because in the next few years, we're gonna have to put millions of dollars into it, it just makes more sense that we really look at a new facility that can accommodate the new technology that has emerged over the last three to five years," Delagrave said.

The Reefpoint Marina, at 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway in Racine, also needs repairs and upgrades.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has mandated that the county fix the fueling stations, upgrade to ADA compliance and install new piers, Delagrave said.

He said the DNR hasn't set a deadline for the marina upgrades, but that the county expects to deliver a plan this year.

Overcoming challenges

Delagrave ended his address by asking the county board to "engage this summer like never before" to tackle countywide issues.

"Some local government boards have what they call 'summer hours,'" Delagrave said. "We have summer hours too — it's called working harder for the greater good — because that's what we're called to do."

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