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Parks and Rec Superintendent Phil Johnson
to Talk about Eau Claire's Commitment to Health

RELEASED: April 23, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — On May 4, Phil Johnson, superintendent of parks for the city of Eau Claire, will present a First Fridays colloquium titled "The Building of a Healthy Community."

Johnson said that the Eau Claire community, with more than 70,000 residents, is a community committed to providing facilities and activities that focus on a healthy lifestyle. He noted that park facilities offer ever-increasing opportunities to participate in activities that fit the individual life styles of community members.

"The number of health-focused special events in Eau Claire shows the desire by our residents to support initiatives that afford us positive recreation opportunities," Johnson said. "The development of facilities such as our extensive trail system is an example of this commitment. The Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department strives to provide recreation and leisure activities that span the needs of all the generations living in our great city."

The presentation will focus on what Eau Claire has to offer to its citizens, from the young to the not-so-young, and will show how the city is committed to giving residents the broadest range of opportunities to live an active life.

In 1977, Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After working six years for private design companies, he started his public service employment with UW-Eau Claire. During three years at UW-Eau Claire, he designed and contracted many improvements to the campus, including the design of the central campus mall.

In 1986, Johnson was hired as superintendent of parks for the city of Eau Claire. During the past 21 years, he has been involved in the reconstruction of the Eau Claire park system, and for 15 years he has been directly involved with the remediation, design and construction of Eau Claire's newest recreation area, Phoenix Park. He has worked extensively in projects renovating neighborhood parks, constructing nearly all of the city's athletic facilities, planning and constructing Eau Claire's extensive bike trails, and making a series of upgrades to Carson Park. Johnson has been married for 30 years; he and his wife, Judy, have four adult children, with two now in college.

A free continental breakfast will precede the formal program at Christ Church Cathedral, located on the corner of Lake and Farwell Streets in downtown Eau Claire. Doors will open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at 9 a.m.

For the safety of the program's senior citizen audience, the event will be cancelled if the Eau Claire Area School District has cancelled or delayed classes in the case of hazardous weather.

First Fridays occurs on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community. Participants whose "season passes" have been stamped each month will be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the May presentation.

The program is funded in part by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts, by a grant from Xcel Energy, and contributions from the Great Harvest Bread Company and Elliot Roberts.

First Fridays is coordinated by Beverly Soll and Jennifer Brockpahler of the UW-Eau Claire Activities and Programs Office and is hosted by Scott and Heather Kirby of Christ Church Cathedral. The mission of First Fridays is to provide no-cost entertainment and educational experiences for senior citizens of the extended Chippewa Valley community through shared community and university sponsorship.

For more information about First Fridays or to be placed on a mailing list, call 715.836.2787 [ARTS].

-30-

JS/NW

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