CHIPPEWA FALLS — Chippewa Falls will officially wrap up two large park projects this month, with the grand openings for Chippewa Riverfront Park and Erickson Park scheduled for Thursdays, June 20 and 27, respectively.
The Erickson Park construction is in its final stages, mostly dealing with site restoration, parking lot finishing touches and final elements to the bridge connecting it to Irvine Park.
Bollards, or short vertical posts, are being added to the entrances of the trails in the area.
Dick Hebert, Chippewa Falls director of parks, recreation and forestry, said officials haven’t decided if the bridge will be open before June 27, but the park was being wrapped up quickly.
“There isn’t a lot left,” Hebert said.
The $2.2 million Erickson Park project was half funded by grants — including the largest Land and Water Conservation Fund grant ever awarded to Wisconsin — and fundraising. The Chippewa Falls Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is continuing to raise money for amenities like benches.
The project has remained on schedule since its groundbreaking in May 2018.
In addition to the handicap-accessible fishing pier and a boardwalk, the park includes an observation platform on Glen Loch Dam, a handicap-accessible boat launch, a walking bridge to connect Erickson Park to Irvine Park, a bike trail and parking.
The project received assistance from a number of people and businesses in the area, including a $100,000 donation by Markquart Motors and a $10,000 donation from Special Friends, Inc.
In downtown, the Chippewa Riverfront Park will be officially finished Thursday, just in time to host the Northwoods Blues Festival Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22.
The park also is in the final stages of the construction, Hebert said, with crews working on site restoration and painting the parks structures.
“That’s pretty much ready to go, too,” Hebert said.
The current $2 million phase of the park project includes adding improved water features, the raised stage and canopy, more trails, Wi-Fi access, restroom facilities and an amphitheater with seating for up to 3,000 people.
Regarding the spring flooding in the park, Hebert said his department has dealt with some erosion and a retaining wall needing repair.
He noted, however, that looking at the historic data the flooding this spring isn’t the norm and park officials don’t expect it to have lasting effects on the park.
In the third phase, the focus will be on the Allen Park trails across Highway 124, the connection to the Chippewa Riverfront Park trails and also improved infrastructure for the farmers market.