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Sunday - July 15, 2018 7:42 pm

Goal is to have new La Crosse Center plan in 2 or 3 months Featured

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For anybody in La Crosse who thought last week's city council meeting killed the idea of expanding the La Crosse Center, Brent Smith says, think again.

The Center Board president says the project is still on, but the board now has to figure out a new way to enlarge the civic center.

"We were told we couldn't go up," Smith said. "We were told we could go, we didn't want to go north. Where can you get square footage? And square footage we could get going west, plus the added benefit of using the park and using the river."

Last Thursday, the council failed to override Mayor Tim Kabat's veto on a 7-6 vote -- it needed nine votes -- of the $49 million plan. The mayor opposed the price tag and the fact that it was going to take up a large portion of Riverside Park, extending nearly to the Mississippi River.

Smith says a lot of eyes are on the outcome, and not just in this the area.

"People alluded to there are people watching us," he said. "We have our competitors are doing things. There's all kinds of reasons why we cannot be back here six months from now having not done anything."

During Friday's Center Board meeting, city council member Jessica Olson officially submitted her resignation from the board, to give another council member a chance to work on the project.

"Maybe she still will," Smith said of her changing her mind. "Doesn't look like that's going to happen but we wish she would reconsider.

"I guess the only silver lining is she's still on the city council. I think she's going to be a proponent, obviously, of what we're doing there."

City council members urged the board to come up with a concept of what the final addition will really look like.

Many people say a rough sketch of a large box design, showing the basic shape of the addition, turned much of the public against the renovation project.

Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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