For the past few summers, the High Octane Fire Spinners have held regular performances following Sounds Like Summer Concert Series concerts down in Phoenix Park. Well, in case you missed it in the L-T last week, the City Council is currently considering changes to city ordinances to regulate the activity, and they’re seeking public input.
After several performances last summer, the High Octane group was told they needed to obtain a special events permit in order to continue performing. A permit was necessary because the group plays music during their events and attracts a crowd. However, things are a bit more complicated as the permit does not relate to an event’s or group’s use of fire.
As things are now, we have an ordinance banning “open flames” in Phoenix Park. However, some council members think the ordinance is too vague and requires more clarification in regard to fire spinning.
So the council is taking time to draft a more specific ordinance that will ensure safety for the public, but may also allow fire-related entertainers to perform (as is the case in other cities). Right now, the ordinance has a list of prohibited activities for area parks, but it doesn’t mention regulations on activities involving fire. Currently, activities not allowed in the parks include flying model airplanes, shooting firearms and air rifles, and hitting golf balls. Exceptions to the ordinance would still be allowed if approved by the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
You can contact your City Council representatives directly to voice your opinions.
The Phoenix Gardens Community Pavilion is finally on its way up – with some major construct completed last weekend. The Phoenix Community Gardens and the North River Fronts Neighborhood will soon have a brand-new structure that seeks to be a community gathering space, a place to store gardening tools and process crops, and collect rain water to irrigate the garden. The labor for the project is being donated by a local union, Local 1074, with the equipment provided by Market and Johnson. They are providing pro-bono labor on the weekends and nights after working all day.
Joe Maurer, the main designer of the project, says, “I hope the project will draw attention to what the gardeners are doing: creating food in an urban context, as well as offer all the other functions of a public park pavilion ... We are seeing the trend of localization and urbanization of food systems – I am celebrating this fact.”
Earlier this year, the pavilion got nearly unanimous approval from Eau Claire’s Parks and Waterways Committee, Planning Commission, and City Council. The 1,680-square-foot-structure will be located on Forest Street across from the intersection of Oak, and will have a design similar to that of Phoenix Park, with a few dramatic accents designed in. It will also be an open-air shelter to accommodate floodplain regulations. If conditions are good, the project should be close to completion in just two weeks, with a ribbon cutting to follow in the spring.
Speaking of the structure’s practical uses, Maurer includes, “This structure will serve as a kind of ‘address’ and workspace in the park.” There is already a new pollinator garden to the north of the structure site, which features dry plants. They will also be planting a rain garden near the structure to feature “wet” plants that are native to this region. There is even a corn crib for gardeners to store their tools throughout the year, with a table to clean vegetables. Because of the design of the structure, it will also offer shade for gardeners or visitors, with benches installed inside. Maurer even suggests it could be rented for special events or parties.
Keep reading for more photos ...
Just a quick post about EC Velo's awesome-looking "Ghettocross Race Series 2012." The series is based on "cyclocross" racing where cyclists complete multiple laps around a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and other obstacles. Competitors often must quickly dismount and carry their bike while navigating an obstruction, then remount and sally forth to glory.
Despite the formal attire shown in the image above, I'm promised that Ghettocross is EC Velo's most "loose and purposely fun" event of the year. (These are also the fine people behind Eau Claire's cross-town ValleyCat bike races.)
These images are from the first in the series (held November 3 at Sherman Creek Park). Race two will start at Half Moon Beach (November 10, 2pm), and race three will begin at the Lake Shore Park Pavilion (November 17, 2pm). The difficulty is "moderate." Here's the Facebook page.
Spectators are highly encouraged. They didn't build that raging fire pit for nothing.
A public meeting on Oct. 10 launched the first public discussions of what to do with Pinehurst Park, if anything. While no plans are laid yet, Parks and Recreation Director Phil Fieber outlined some ideas of adding hockey rinks, improving the sledding hill and possibly adding trails for biking, cross country skiing and hiking in the woods behind that. At the public input meeting, some expressed concerns over the cost of the project, but Fieber said much of what they were looking to do could come from partnerships with local groups or businesses and not necessarily from taxpayer dollars. The planning is still in very preliminary stages, so this is somthing to follow through the next year.
Good news, leaf fans. Eau Claire County is currently amongst the most autumn-esque counties in all of Wisconsin – with an estimated Go Look at the Awesome Trees Cuz It Only Gets Browner from Here Time (our phrase, not theirs) around the third week of September. Who says? Travel Wisconsin says.
The Wisconsin Fall Color Report on Travelwisconsin.com, gives you up-to-date color percentages for the foliage in each of Wisconsin’s glorious counties – we are already at 25% color, and September has barely begun. Dunn County is clearly behind by a long shot, only at 15% color, while Chippewa County is at an equalling embarrassing 15%.
Not sure what’s in the water (or lack of it) up in Winter, but they’re at a whopping 35%.
The changing of the leaves is a stunning part of autumn in Wisconsin, but doesn’t it feel kind of early? Lately, when I notice the surrounding trees and their respective colors, I stop for a second and panic that I haven’t started on Christmas shopping yet. But alas, 'tis not even October.
Clearly, something wild is going on with the weather. From a weak, is-that-all-you’ve-got winter to an unbearably sweltering summer, and now venturing into an early approaching autumn, I’m not sure where the madness will stop. But hopefully, all the kinks will be worked out and we can breathe a sigh of relief when everything is back to normal. Unless, of course, you enjoy unseasonable weather. Then by all means, savor it.