Related Place: Pickleball Courts at Mcdonough Park

Active aging activities take over McDonough Park, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin [Video]


Sarah Winkelmann – Jul 15, 2019

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — Just because you are over the age of 5, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun at the park. A group of pickleball players are hoping to encourage those of all ages to still have fun, all while getting some exercise.

Only five years ago the courts at McDonough Park were just two old tennis courts, until a group of pickleball players used their own money to help convert them into 2 pickleball courts. Now, they have raised even more money to have 12 freshly painted courts and this is just the beginning.

If you stop by McDonough Park just about any weekday this summer, it is a busy place. “Good serve, stay with it Sharon,” said Jeff Lorentz as he is teaching some beginners. “Everybody who has come has gotten addicted to it,” said Marilyn Skrivseth, a retired tennis coach that is leading the movement at McDonough Park. “Our goal is to transform this park using our pickleball courts are going to be the anchor spot of all of this and from here we are going to add all of these other activities,” Skrivseth said.

While Skrivseth is leading the way, she has a large group of pickleball players to help, now reaching close to 100 people that come down to play on any given day. “Every time I come down here, I got to smile because I have made all of these great friends,” she said.

But it wasn’t always that way. “This park people weren’t using because they didn’t feel safe,” Skrivseth added. So Skrivseth, along with other pickleball players, joined forces and raised $160,000 to update the courts. “We have grandchildren and great-grandchildren and its fun not to be just sitting and observing but actually find things we can engage in, said pickleball player, Barbie Boschen.

But the active aging at McDonough park only starts with pickleball, they also have cardio drumming, which is an activity for all ages. “Just being able to do it with them I think, and having everybody come out and they have fun,” said Kathy Campbell De Loyo who was there with her two young daughters.

The group plans to raise another $300,000 to add everything from walking paths to shuffleboard and even bocce ball to the park. “This neighborhood now building stronger connections where they get to meet each other and do things together,” Skrivseth said.
Not only are they getting to play some games but they are getting to spend some time with other people. “I think the socialization factor is huge,” Boschen said.

They are spending their time “playing” no matter their age or ability. “As you walk around, we have people with Parkinson’s, people with diabetes; we have people with more hip and joint replacements than I can count,” Skrivseth added.
But no matter how many people join in, they all have the same goal, active aging. “Get out, get connected and stay as active as possible,” Skrivseth said.

If you are interested in donating to the additions or would like to be involved in the changes at McDonough Park you can contact Todd Chwala from the City of Eau Claire at 715-839-5039 or If you are just interested in joining for pickleball or other activities, you can just stop on by McDonough Park at 800 Centre Street in Eau Claire.


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