Eau Claire looks into making local winter recreation safer - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire looks into making local winter recreation safer

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It won't be long before the snow falls and the sleds come out.  The city of Eau Claire is already thinking ahead to next winter, on how to make winter recreation safer.

The city is considering changes to Pinehurst, a popular park on the city's north side.

Probably the most important reason to look into improvements is safety. The way the hill is currently situated leads sledders right into the middle of the road.

Phil Fieber with Eau Claire Parks & Recreation, says, "We had an incident a few year ago where a child sledding on the hill went under a car."

He says by "Reshaping the current hill that's used for sledding, pushing that a little further to the west and then also re-grading that so that as you come down the hill. You will come to a rise and you'll actually stop."

Along with making changes to the hill, the city could add more hockey rinks.  The rink at Pinehurst Park is just one of three rinks in the city that requires upkeep. 

Fieber says, "Part of what we're looking for is to have all our hockey rinks in either one or two sites. And that would either eliminate some of the travel time for our crews to go in between rinks, so they could spend more time working on the rinks rather than traveling to and from."

If the project rolls ahead, it's unclear what would happen to the other rinks around the city. 

"Our goal and our objective in our department is to provide high quality facilities, we may not be able to provide twenty different sites to skate at, but we'd like to have two or three sites that have really high quality," says Fieber.  

Kris Schreiber has lived in the neighborhood for 41 years.  One thing she loves the most is having the open space.  

"We would like to keep it as it is as much as possible because we love the natural beauty of it and coming over here it's very peaceful. Nothing real drastic like a lot of lights and lot of traffic and noise because this is a peaceful area and we're spoiled. We'd like to keep it that way," says Schreiber.

At this point there is no specific dollar amount  but WQOW News 18 asked how the improvements would be paid for.  Fieber says, "We don't foresee this as something that gets done with tax dollars, it's going to have to be done through sponsorships and partnerships."

Next winter would be the earliest any changes could be made.  The city is looking for your input. A public discussion will be held at Pinehurst Park on October 10th starting at 5:30pm.

If you are not able to attend you can call the city with any suggestions or comments at (715) 839-5031.

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