Chippewa Falls looking into improving Irvine Park - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Chippewa Falls looking into improving Irvine Park

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- A local city is ready to start doling out the money.  Chippewa Falls is considering spending more than $2 million to make improvements to many different city departments.

"You get to a point where you just can't get by anymore," says Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman.

The Christmas lights may be coming down at Irvine Park, but efforts to improve the park are just ramping up.  But the city can't do it without a little borrowing; around $2.2 million to be exact.

"We bond every two years and this is our bonding cycle," Hoffman explains.

The city says it would like to make two improvements at Irvine Park.  The first would be to replace the restroom with a bigger one because the public uses it so much, the space just simply isn't large enough.  The price tag for the bathroom is $180,000.

"There's a lot of usage in this part of the park," points out Chippewa Falls Parks and Rec. Director Dick Hebert.  "We determined that this bathroom facility was the priority."

"I have been in that bathroom," says Hoffman.  "It's an eye-sore."

Priority number two: Upgrade four sections of road in the park for about $270,000.

Hebert would like to see other upgrades, but understands money is tight and other departments need help too.  For instance, the fire department has two major purchases on the agenda; an ambulance that will cost about $180,000 and a $900,000 snorkel truck.

"It's always hard to pull the trigger on $1 million.  We just need to make the plunge," Hoffman laughs.

The Chippewa Falls Police Department is asking to buy new rifles and pay for cameras in police cars.  The city council will have the final say on all of the requests in February.

"Those are some things that I think we have let slide," Hoffman explains.  "But now we are at a point where we really need to reinvest back into the community."

All of the projects will need to go through the finance committee before they make their way to the city council.  The council will then vote on the measures that pass early next month.

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