Exciting opportunities Chippewa Valley neighbors already enjoy in their very own ‘hoods
The Eastside Hill Neighborhood Garden Stand
Located at the intersection of Huebsch, Belmont, and Fleming in Eau Claire, this sturdy little stand is a place for neighbors to share extra fruits and veggies from their own garden. Planned, built, and maintained by neighbors’ donated time and materials, the stand was put in place just this summer. The stand has its own Facebook group allowing people to notify others when they leave fresh produce, to say thank you, and post pictures of the food they make with the bounty. Check it out: tinyurl.com/o8ykh8s
Little Free Libraries
These little gems have been popping up all over the Chippewa Valley – and the world – like crazy in recent years. A Little Free Library is basically a cool-looking box with a little roof on top to house a small collection of books. People can take, return, and donate books as needed, sharing favorite titles. Putting one right in front of your house next to the sidewalk provides a great meeting place for neighbors. Keep your eyes peeled – you’ll find multiple installations in Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and Eau Claire’s Third Ward, Eastside Hill, Buffington, and Putnam Heights neighborhoods. Anyone can host a Free Little Library – simply purchase one or download plans to build your own at LittleFreeLibrary.org.
The Forest Street Community Garden
A number of Chippewa Valley neighborhoods have community garden plots and programs, such as the one in Demmler Park (in Eau Claire’s Third Ward), but Eau Claire’s North River Fronts Neighborhood has taken things to the next level with their sprawling gardens along Forest Street. Constantly evolving, the gardens now include about 2 acres of plots, a large storage shed with a rainwater collection system, an herb garden, a large composting area, handicap accessible “Enabling Gardens,” and the city’s most interesting park pavilion. Email eauclairecommunitygarden [AT] gmail [DOT] com to learn more.
Copious Annual Events in Eau Claire
Third Ward has an annual cookout in remembrance of the 1980 wind storm (see article on page 34), along with a host of other annual picnics and parties. The Eastside Hill annual neighborhood-wide thrift sale happens every year on the third Saturday in May, combining over 100 different sales and offering both paper and interactive Google maps. They also host an annual picnic in Boyd Park every August. The Randall Park Neighborhood hosts a September cookout in Owen Park, welcoming UW-Eau Claire students into the neighborhood. And new this year, the Buffington Neighborhood is hosted an ice cream social.
The Chippewa Valley Timebank
A “timebank” is a community of people who donate time and expertise to each other. When you spend an hour doing something for an individual or group, you earn a “time dollar.” You can then spend that time dollar to buy an hour of a neighbor’s time or engage in a group activity offered by a neighbor. Besides the obvious neighbor-to-neighbor benefits, an entire neighborhood is able to sign up as a group to work together or get specialized help for a project. It’s all facilitated at ChippewaValleyTimebank.org.