CHIPPEWA FALLS — The speed limit by a new park in Chippewa Falls is about to be lowered.
Last June, a park opened in a housing development on the city’s East Hill in an area commonly called the flats. The 2¼-acre parcel is at the intersection of Unity Road and Dutchman Drive.
On Tuesday, the City Council held a first reading on an ordinance to reduce the speed on roads next to the park from 25 mph to 15 mph “when children are going to or playing within such area.” The council will vote on the resolution at its March 20 meeting.
Mayor Greg Hoffman said he’s heard from a few residents in that neighborhood who requested the lower speed.
“They were very concerned about the speed of traffic going by the playground there,” Hoffman said. “They are addressing that, trying to get it back to a moderate level.”
A sign would be erected with the new speed limit, along with a phrase about “watch out, children at play,” he said.
“(Children) are thinking about going home, and they aren’t paying attention to the street,” Hoffman said. “We want to emphasize it’s a family area. There aren’t sidewalks there. (Drivers) have to pay attention to their surroundings.”
The city worked for years in trying to get a park in that area of the city, noting there aren’t any other parks close by and there is a high number of apartments and young children in that neighborhood.
Wayne and Diana Germain approached the Park Board in March 2015 with the offer of giving the 2¼-acre parcel to the city. According to tax records, the empty lot had a value of $85,000. The Germains asked the city to not name the park after them.
Parks director Dick Hebert previously said it’s a great location because it’s not on Pumphouse Road, which is the busy, main corridor through that corner of the city.
Last June, Chippewa Falls die-manufacturing firm Nordson EDI donated the cost of the $44,000 playground equipment and also provided the volunteers to install it; the work was done June 8. Along with the new playground equipment, a split-rail fence was installed, trees were trimmed, and garbage and debris were removed.
“That playground is getting a lot of use,” Hoffman said. “We got a nice city park at pretty much no cost.”
The park still hasn’t been named; Hoffman and Hebert said they have a few ideas but haven’t formalized plans for it.