Jeffers Park Development Project Receives Major Donations

In July 2014, the Jeffers Park Development Project received  generous gifts from Larry Reit of May's Floral and other donors.

In July 2014, the Jeffers Park Development Project received generous gifts from Larry Reit of May's Floral and other donors.

The Jeffers Park Development Project received a major boost with the announcement of significant donations to its fund at the Eau Claire Community Foundation. The fund has now rocketed past the halfway point to its $350,000 goal thanks to the very generous gifts from Larry Reit, who donated $100,000, and Steve Kristo, who donated $25,000.

The Project’s mission is to plan and construct a five field baseball and softball complex, along with other public park amenities like a playground and trails, in Eau Claire’s Jeffers Park neighborhood. It represents a collaboration between two youth sports leagues—the Eau Claire National Little League and Eau Claire Fastpitch—and the City of Eau Claire. The ball field complex would be the first joint boy and girl ball fields in Eau Claire and would expand young players’ currently limited access to ball fields.

Larry Reit, President of May’s Floral Greenhouse, is giving his $100,000 gift in celebration of his business’s 40th anniversary. “This property has been in our backyard for 40 years and is being developed into one of the area’s premier sports complexes,” he said. “We value our community and the economic impact this will bring to Eau Claire…We decided to be a part of this fantastic addition to the west side.”

The gift from Steve Kristo of Kristo Orthodontic Specialists in Eau Claire is part of his tradition of philanthropy. Stephen Nick, who is the Jeffers Park Development Project’s president, says, “It is again a pleasure to thank Steve Kristo for his generous support of youth facilities and programing in Eau Claire.  He was a vital early supporter of the Eau Claire Children’s Museum when I was involved with that project, and here he is again coming through with a leading gift that I am confident will be followed by further generous donations to enable this park to open next year.  Thanks to Steve, his family, and business staff for this donation and his support of the Jeffers Park Development Project.”

Royal Construction will augment this already considerable generosity with in-kind donations of time, labor, and materials. Jeffers Park Committee Co-Chair Jodi Thesing-Ritter noted, “I would very much like to credit Royal Construction. Tim and his staff have been working very hard for us!”

Equally generous is the Chippewa Valley Homebuilders Association, which is also making in-kind contributions of time, labor, and material.  Haas Sons, Inc. is contributing excavation work, and Lien JA & Associates is offering their architectural design assistance.

In addition, the Jeffers Park Development Project got another boost over the weekend of June 27-29 from the Eau Claire Fastpitch Classic. This tournament featured 88 teams of young players from throughout the Midwest playing in Eau Claire and Altoona Parks. Tournament proceeds helped support Eau Claire Fastpitch, but amounts raised over the annual goal were directed to the Jeffers Park Development Project.

Despite all of this generosity, there’s still a long way to go before Jeffers Park can be fully realized. The total project cost will be more than $500,000; as a result, there are still four fields in need of sponsors at $25,000 each. There are also options for donors to become field supporters with gifts of $10,000, as well as brick and paver options to fill out the rest of the needed cash donations.

Anyone interested in supporting the Jeffers Park Development Project is welcome to donate to its fund. Please contact the Eau Claire Community Foundation at (715) 552-3801 or write to grants@eccommunityfoundation.org if you would like more information about how to donate.