New Park Could Go to the Dogs – and the Boats

Barbara Arnold

By 2020, Eau Claire may gain a third boat launch on the Chippewa River and a third dog park – this one with access to water. City officials presented and explained the proposal at a community meeting Dec. 13. The southwest Eau Claire boat launch and dog park would be at the south end of Ferry Street between the river and the wastewater treatment plant. The boat launch will provide access to the river for small fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks in addition to a possible fishing dock at a future date. The dog park will include one long dog run for larger dogs, an enclosed space for smaller dogs, and an area for sporting dogs to get to the water. There will be two parking lots: 24 spaces for dog park users and 12 spaces for boat launch users. In addition, the access road on Ferry Street will be widened. “This proposal seemed like a good fit for this location,” said Jeffrey Pippenger, the city’s community services department director, noting the city has done a lot of work cleaning out the area which had been used to dump appliances and furniture, among other unsavory activities. “And dog parks are pretty social among both the dogs and their owners. The dog owners pretty much police themselves, too.” To pay for the boat launch and dog park, the city has obtained matching funds from the state: $143,000 for the dog park and $79,000 for the boat launch. Next up, the proposal will be presented to the city Waterways and Parks Commission in January and the Plan Commission and the City Council in February.