Markquart Donation Boosts Effort To Create Senior-Friendly Park Amenities

$50,000 donation to help aging locals stay active

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

AGING AND ACTIVE. A $50,000 donation from Markquart Motors will go to boost Eau Claire's McDonough Park into an Active Aging Fitness area.
AGING AND ACTIVE. A $50,000 donation from Markquart Motors will go to boost Eau Claire's McDonough Park into an Active Aging Fitness area.

The effort to turn part of Eau Claire’s McDonough Park into an Active Aging Fitness area got a big boost recently with a $50,000 donation from Markquart Motors, with an additional $50,000 to come next year. The combined $100,000 gift will put the city well on its way to matching a $205,000 state Department of Natural Resources grant for a variety of project at the northside park.

Dawn Comte, the city’s recreation supervisor, said the Active Aging project is a unique plan to redevelop part of the park to offer fitness options that are accessible to individuals of all ages, including those with mobility challenges. “Our goal is to improve the physical, mental, and social well-being of every user, but with a specific focus on our aging population,” she said.

The project has benefited from other community donations, including a $20,000 Mayo Clinic Health System Hometown Health Grant.

In addition to building pickleball courts at the park, the city has already designed a conceptual plan for new amenities and removed trees to create viewing vistas of nearby Dells Pond.

Next year, Comte said, the city’s recreation office plans to coordinate senior-friendly activities in the park such as giant checkers, Connect Four, Jenga, tic-tac-toe, as well as cardio drumming, Comte said. Future planned amenities funded by the DNR grant and donations include fitness equipment, bocce ball, shuffleboard, social game tables, a walking trail, restrooms, water station, and more.

Donations for the project can be made to the Community Parks Association, Active Aging Fitness Park at McDonough, P.O. Box 741, Eau Claire, WI 54703-0741. If you have questions about the project, email the Recreation Administrative Office at recreation@eauclairewi.gov.