Eau Claire leaders lauded a neighborhood association’s pledge to help improve a public park, but also worried that other outdoor spots in the city where homeowners aren’t as active in their community could fall behind.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved a pact with the Eastside Hill Neighborhood Association so those residents can raise money for improvements to Boyd Park and the city will provide the labor to build or install the new amenities.
Mark Ruddy, the association’s president, said residents there want updates to the park to happen while their children or grandchildren are still young enough to enjoy them.
“We’re ready to move now and not wait seven years,” he said.
Improvements listed in the agreement included new playground equipment, a nature trail, benches, scenic overlooks and a community garden.
The agreement is intended to bring those to the park faster than the city’s schedule, where Boyd Park has to compete for limited funding with Eau Claire’s many other outdoor recreational areas.
Acting council President Andrew Werthmann commended the Eastside Hill residents for their initiative and vision, but mentioned that he’s worried what could happen to aging parks in other parts of the city without an active neighborhood association.
“I’m first and foremost concerned about fairness,” he said.
Councilwoman Catherine Emmanuelle seconded that sentiment, but didn’t want the thought to dwindle enthusiasm for the Boyd Park pact.
“But at the same time, there’s always lots of ways to get from Point A to Point B,” she said.
Emmanuelle said the Eastside Hill showed good civic engagement and how citizens have the ability to affect physical changes in their city.