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University and community members invited to give input into the future of the grounds at The Priory

March 27, 2014

20120927_-Priory_webEAU CLAIRE — Individuals and organizations in the Eau Claire area are invited to join University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff in providing input into the future of the grounds at The Priory. The Priory Gardens and Grounds Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m.-noon April 19 at The Priory, 1190 Priory Rd., Eau Claire.

Dr. Garry Running, professor of geography and anthropology, was asked by the UW-Eau Claire Priory Advisory Council to convene a committee made up of university and community members to make recommendations about how The Priory gardens and ground can be developed. Those recommendations will then be forwarded to the UW-Eau Claire Priory Advisory Committee.

"A lot of people have ideas," Running said. "It's a tremendous living laboratory."

The Priory sits on 112 acres of land. When the purchase of the property was completed in 2011, the focus was transforming the buildings for use as a children's center, and later, as a residence area and living learning community for UW-Eau Claire students, Running said. Now the time has come to think about what to do with the land.

"I took my soils class out there in fall 2012," Running said. "Our objective was to conduct soil tests and see what the best use of the land might be. Those tests provided a wide variety of results and showed a lot of diversity. There is ground that's up high where the buildings are, steep wooded slopes and lower lying land. That means different kinds of soils and different kinds of opportunities."

The goal of the summit is to identify people and organizations interested in sharing their vision for the land at The Priory, Running said.

"We want people to participate in a planning process," Running said. "We want recommendations that we hope will guide the future use and development of The Priory grounds."

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