UPDATE: Show Some River City Spirit

the Spirit Fund will pay for increased water access

Tom Giffey

Have you got community spirit? (C’mon, sure you do!) If so, there soon will be a brand-new way for you to show it. The Eau Claire Public Spirit Fund is a new charitable conduit through which donors can help pay for public infrastructure projects, specifically those that enhance the city’s waterways.

The fund is the brainchild of City Council President Kerry Kincaid, who has been contemplating the idea for several years and recently took steps to create the fund, which will be administered by the Eau Claire Community Foundation. The City Council approved the fund on Feb. 26.

“What I wanted to tap into was our community’s spirt of giving things to the public, for the public good, without a direct benefit to themselves,” Kincaid said.
Donors could include both city residents and those who live outside the city limits but nonetheless use city amenities and want to support them.

Anyone wishing to enhance the community will be able to make a tax-deductible gift to the fund (see below for more information). The money will be used to pay for improvements identified by city staff which (initially, at least) will come from the city’s Waterways Plan, which was approved last summer.

The first of these priorities will be building a handicapped-accessible fishing dock on Half Moon Lake just south of the Carson Park causeway (behind Lakeshore Elementary School) and putting in a boat launch on the west bank of the Chippewa River at Domer Park (a largely undeveloped and fairly new park on the city’s north side).  

“In my view, this fund could go anywhere,” Kincaid said. “Maybe someday it could be a mechanism for a very grand kind of project. I don’t know. but even if it stays with these small projects, that’s OK. it would be equally exciting.”

Donations to the fund can be made online at www.eauclairewi.gov/publicspiritfund or by mail to the Eau Claire Community Foundation, 306 S. Barstow St., Suite 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701.