Eau Claire parks spring to life

Park season begins as warm weather arrives

Story by Brian Sheridan, Staff Writer

It’s the small things that bring a park to life.

The crisp snap of soda opening, the crackling of a barbeque pit as it sizzles the afternoon meal, or the rattle of chains on a swing set. As with warm weather, Eau Claire parks season begins in full.

From the peak of upper Mount Simon in Eau Claire, clanks of aluminum bats ring from baseball diamonds below, followed by the din of a rising cheer.

Parkgoers fill a picnic table with bread, beer, meat, a radio. Close by, a lone bench sits precariously on an edge between an opening in the tree line for an unhindered view of Dell’s Pond.

A short road down the hill leads to an open field and a path leading to the base of the lake.

Here is Mount Simon’s boat landing, near, sand volleyball courts and Nine Disc Golf holes peppered throughout for anyone who wishes to go Frisbee golfing, or “frolfing”

Josh Schweig brought his disc and his dog, Nala, to enjoy the sun and fun after a dreary week in Eau Claire.

“I thought, you know, it’s a beautiful Saturday; it’s very nice out,” said Schweig. “I thought I would come down here with my dog and go frolfing. All last week we had all that rain. You couldn’t even come down here at all… I’m having fun now.”

Mount Simon is by no means the only park worth visiting.

Phoenix Park is a small park known for its summer concerts. It is also home to the Farmer’s and Artist’s Markets.

Fairfax Park is an adaptable park for year round entertainment. In its 75 acres, it contains the Fairfax Municipal Pool, little league baseball fields and cross country ski trails in winter.

Carson Park is Eau Claire’s largest park featuring football at Carson Stadium, tennis courts, baseball fields and fishing in Half Moon Lake.

While these are only a few of the parks in Eau Claire, all of them offer something special to Eau Claire and its community.

Eau Claire Superintendent of Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries, Todd Chwala, hopes to start getting all the parks in motion by April 15. Chwala will soon turn on plumbing, check lighting systems, inspect the fences and make sure everything is cleared, cleaned, and cut for summer.

“Some of the other things we try to do earlier is try to clear snow from our sport courts, get the volleyball nets up as early as possible,” said Chwala. “Later on, as we get going, we will be involved in our fertilizer and feeding programs for our athletic turf”.

Chwala said last year this time there was a foot of snow on the ground, which delayed the park preparation process.

With already a couple of bright, sunny weekends this year, the smell of burgers on the grill and the time for sleeping in lawn chairs is closer than ever. So grab the football and the dog, spring is here.