Planned Park Will Let Doggos Run Along Chippewa River

Tom Giffey

Eau Claire will have a big new dog park by the end of next year that will allow pooches – and their owners – to splash along the banks of the Chippewa River. In late May, the Eau Claire City Council approved a site plan for the Southwest Dog Park, which will be at the south end of Ferry Street, just east of the city wastewater treatment plant. The city and CBS Squared, a Chippewa Falls engineering and architectural firm, developed a site plan for the roughly 27-acre parcel that will feature an off-leash dog park as well as a boat launch and other improvements. The 11-acre boat launch area will include a parking lot as well as an at-grade kayak and canoe launch on the west bank of the Chippewa River. To the south will be a roughly 16-acre dog park, which the city says will be primarily designed for sporting dogs as well as for owners who want their pups to have access to water. In addition to a 24-stall parking lot, the dog park will feature a pay station, a dog watering area, and picnic tables. (However, there won’t be an area set aside for smaller dogs.) According to Jeffrey Pippenger, city community services director, the dog park will also encompass roughly 19 acres of Department of Transportation-owned land along the river on the south side of Interstate 94. When the river isn’t high, this area will be accessible to canines and their companions by walking along the riverbank. Pippenger said the project’s total price tag will be about $400,000, roughly split between city funds and a matching grant from the Department of Natural Resources. The city already has budgeted $133,000 for the project, and Pippenger plans to request about $100,000 more in the city’s next capital budget to account for additional earth-moving costs. He expects construction on the park to begin in 2020, with completion by that fall.