$100K Donation allows for construction of new EC park to begin

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A new city park is scheduled to begin construction later this month after getting a $100,000 cash donation Tuesday.

Eau Claire Fastpitch President Steve Nick says the donation from Larry Reit with May’s Floral will allow construction of the Jeffers Road Park Development to begin within the next few weeks.

With this donation along with other past ones, the project has raised $175,000, about half of its goal, Nick said. The park will have five fields for baseball and softball, a playground area and trails.

Nick said there are no other parks within walking distance in the area, and it will offer more options for teams to play. The park location is north of the North Crossing along Jeffers Road.

Fundraising efforts will continue, to pay for bleachers, concession stands and other features of the park.

Preeti Bhadane said she loves her neighborhood on Jeffers Road but would like to have a place for her two-year-old son, and soon, his new brother to play within walking distance.

“It's much better if I can just put him in the stroller and move around and he can just go and kick some balls there, so it would be great,” Bhadane said.

An announcement Tuesday could give her family and many others that chance.

A major donation could finally get things started.

Larry Reit and his family, who have run May's Floral Garden on Jeffers road for 40 years, donated $100,000 to the project, that will be named Reit Family Fields.

“They were looking for like $90,000 to $100,000 to get the project started this summer, so I guess we were the final straw so they could start developing,” Reit said.

“The community has been good to us and we've been successful, and we just thought it was something we could do to turn it around and give it back to the community.”

“With this gift, we're half way and it will let us begin the construction, get irrigation in, get the infield material down and get the field seeded. So they can grow the rest of this year and be ready to play on next year,” Nick said.

“This is a fantastic plan that the city came for and it's very good that this land would be utilized in such a great activity,” Bhadane said.

Nick said the new park is needed, with a lack of softball fields in town for practice and tournaments. He expects to break ground later this month.

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