Irvine Park serves as a cherished community asset to many - Rolf Chance included. For 40 years, the Chippewa Falls resident lived in a home on nearby Jefferson Avenue and would visit the popular park in his spare time.
The monkeys, in particular, have always held a special spot in his heart.
Through the years, Chance - a father of four -has enjoyed watching the children's reactions to the playful primates. So much so, in fact, that he established the Rolf Chance Memorial Endowment Fund, making a very generous initial gift, with plans to ultimately contribute much more.
Chance says his intents are simply "just to take care of the monkeys." Distributions from his fund will support the care and maintenance of the monkey's housing at Irvine Park. "I thought to myself, 'Who is the park made for?' It's made for the children," said Chance, a retired shoe salesman.
The Chippewa Falls Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department appreciates the support received from Chance through the years. In addition to his financial gifts, Chance has donated considerable time to zoo-related volunteer efforts. During his time on Jefferson Avenue, Rolf was involved with two hardworking groups, the Zoological Society and the Friends of Irvine Park. It was through the
Friends group that he helped sell the bricks and granite stones that are in front of the animals at the zoo.
The current small animal building, where the monkeys are housed, was built in 1962. A new Welcome Center and Small Mammal/Aviary Building capital campaign project is currently under way. In addition to serving as the grand entrance to the Park and Zoo, the enhancements will bring all parts of the
Zoo together to be consistent in its appeal and benefit for the animals.
Grants support the care and maintenance of housing for the monkeys at Irvine Park.