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Progress on the Pinehurst Project as donations roll in

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Some people are in no hurry to welcome the snow, but for kids, winter weather spells out fun. This season at Pinehurst Park in Eau Claire, there’s more than one way to hit the slopes, thanks to the Pinehurst Project.

The Pinehurst Project's goal is to rebuild the former ski hill. Organizers said it would make it a safer and fun place to go tubing, skiing and snowboarding.

On Wednesday, the project got word of an $11,000 donation from the Buzz and Mary Ann Minton Family Fund through the Eau Claire Community Foundation, bringing it one step closer to reach its goal.

“You know the saying goes, a family that plays together stays together and so it’s kind of getting people active, getting outside in the winter months,” said Chris Peterson who is leading the Pinehurst Project.

By next month, Peterson said there will be much more to do at Pinehurst Park.

“With the city council approval just a few months ago, we didn't have the entire hill prepared for a snow park, but we will have a few features; rails, boxes, jumps available for the freestyle snowboarders and skiers,” said Peterson.

Even with just the little amount of snow, tread marks are visible, left behind from kids taking advantage of winter's early start.

Peterson said the Pinehurst Project has also spurred up several clubs in Eau Claire, including a new UW-Eau Claire Ski and Snowboard Club and the Memorial High School Snowboard Cub.

Parks, recreation and forestry director Phil Fieber said they've already made some changes, including a safe run out where sledders can slow down when they get to the bottom of the hill.

“This is going to be a good base for the hill and I think we're going to be sledding and tubing and ice skating here well before we normally do which is usually the week before Christmas and New Year’s,” said Fieber. “The bad part is you have to walk up the hill still so there’s an exercise component to it but it’s a great place where you can sled.”

But the usual way of walking up the hill and sliding down will change in the next six to ten months, as more funding comes in.

“The first phase doesn't have rope tows included but we hope to with further approval introduce phase two and three with snow making and rope tows,” said Peterson.

The Pinehurst Project's goal is to raise $250,000 through the Eau Claire Community Foundation. The foundation offers donors opportunities to “establish charitable legacies by making grants, and by serving as a catalyst to address community needs.”

Over the last month, the Pinehurst Project was able to raise $15,000 and with the help of the Buzz and Mary Ann Minton Family Fund, an additional $11,000 brings the total up to $26,000.

“And they established their endowment fund to give directly as grants to the Pinehurst Project every year,” said Sue Bornick with the Eau Claire Community Foundation. “Anybody can donate any amount, and to donate to the Pinehurst Project is something your children, your children’s children could use in the Eau Claire area and what more can you ask for.”

You can make donations to the Pinehurst Project by going to the Pinehurst Park website (link below), the Eau Claire Community Foundation website (link below) or by sending a check to the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

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