City looks to make McDonough Neighborhood Park geared towards active aging

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The weather may not be perfect for a day at the park right now, but the city of Eau Claire is preparing for some upgrades that could be coming to McDonough Neighborhood Park.

A few years back, the Chippewa Valley Pickleball League started raising funds to build some courts at McDonough Park. They later expanded to even more pickleball courts but it didn't stop there and now they are teaming up with the city for even more updates and looking for approval for the city council on Tuesday night.

It's all quiet now at McDonough Park but soon that all could change. "McDonough is a traditional neighborhood park but we also felt like there was more opportunity here to be discovered,” said Todd Chwala, the community services manager for the City of Eau Claire.

The Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club has been leading the project to bring more active aging equipment to the park. "To encourage active aging regardless of your age where parents and grandparents can come with children and spend some time here in this particular park, Chwala said.

If approved by the city council, the updates could include adding bocce ball, a second restroom and some benches along some new trails. "And a series of trail systems where walkers can take incremental walks on safe, flat and predictable surfaces,” Chewala said. "That's wonderful that they will serve our needs and give us a good place to walk,” said Ann Heywood, a community member.

In addition, the city is looking at opening up view sheds or vistas to Dells pond to increase the view from the park. "I love the river and I think any kind of time to get a view and we can share it with other community members who don't live on the river, it's really wonderful to have that kind of thing,” Heywood added.

They plan to leave certain areas of park alone while others like the basketball court could be re-located to create a plaza area in front of the pavilion. "We feel to some degree it's somewhat underutilized and we would really like to see these parks and this space in particular be used to its fullest potential,” Chwala said.

But whatever changes could be in store, they all will have a focus of active aging. All of the additions and changes could reach a budget around $500,000 but projects will be completed once the money comes in through fundraisers and other grants.

All of these plans are still waiting for approval from the Eau Claire City Council during their meeting on Tuesday night.