Mural in Serenity Park
Waupaca plans boardwalk next spring
By Angie Landsverk
Serenity Park continues to develop into a space for people of all ages.
Its most recent addition is a mural.
“We had a group of local artists who got together and thought about what we can do. We received approval from the city and county to paint a mural on the bridge,” said Sara Reybrock, the city’s senior citizen coordinator.
Serenity Park is located along the shore of the Waupaca River, behind the recreation center.
The mural is along the State Street bridge’s retaining wall.
Planning for the park began about five years ago, under the direction of Teri Moe, the city’s former senior citizen coordinator.
The senior center raised $14,000 for the initial project, which included a 15-step staircase and ADA accessible trail.
A Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WISCORP) crew completed that three years ago.
The nonprofit conservation corps is based in La Crosse.
It engages young adults, ages 18-25, in direct conservation projects on public lands across the state and upper Midwest.
Since then, a member of Waupaca’s senior center created a swing for the park, while another donated lilac bushes for it.
There are more plans for the park, including a memorial area with pavers and wood carvings.
Next spring, a WISCORP crew is scheduled to return to the park to construct a boardwalk along the river, as well as a staircase and fishing pier. The crew is also going to clean up the picnic area.
Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Whitman said it will result in a more usable space, including for classes.
In August, the common council approved moving forward with the project at a cost not to exceed $23,150.
A total of $15,000 was included in the Parks and Recreation Department capital budget for the project.
The remaining $8,150 of the cost will come out of the Senior Center Donation Fund.
The senior center raises funds in a variety of ways.
It raised about $2,000 through its rummage sale.
The center’s next fundraiser is an auction on Saturday, Sept. 29.
At least 40 local businesses donated items for the event, which is taking place in the rec center’s Augie Austin Gym.
Viewing will begin at 9 a.m., with bidding at 10 a.m.
Auction items may be viewed on Auctionzip.com under the September date.
The fundraiser will also include a silent auction.
“It’s been a community collaboration,” Reybrock said of Serenity Park.
The thought behind all aspects of the park is to make it a welcoming and accessible space for all.
She said the mural adds interest as people walk down to the river.
“The mural went through a ton of changes,” she said.
Members of the senior center primed the area last May.
“We originally said we were going to get it done in a week,” said Gene Antoniewicz.
Laurie Wagner said they were optimistic.
Someone soon had an idea about how they could complete the project.
“Bob came in and said our girls can do that in a day,” said Sondra Rothenbach.
Her husband was referring to their daughters, Deanna Qualley and Tammy Russell.
They are the artists behind the mural.
Their work is familiar in this area, as they also painted murals at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.
“They had already started it. They needed some ideas,” Qualley said of the Serenity Park project.
The sisters donated their time and paint, saying they would get as much done in a day as they could.
“We added shading, shadows and perspective to it,” said Russell.
That took place about a month ago.
Reybrock said they will continue adding to the mural.
The mural will include a poem written by Patrica Reckery.
Her poem says, “In the rivers flow all the lessons we need to know.”
Reybrock said, “That kind of sums up serenity.”
Forrest Peters, who teaches computer classes at the center, is handling the calligraphy of the poem on the retaining wall.
“We’re trying to get the word out, to let people know the park is there,” he said.
Peters sees people of all ages visiting the park.
“It’s kind of neat. It’s been created by seniors for the whole community,” Reybrock said. “A lot of people came together for the community. A lot of seniors worked hard to get the park developed.”