City Debates Development of Oil Site - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

City Debates Development of Oil Site

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- The city of La Crosse owns the site of a former ExxonMobil Oil Terminal and the former Patros Steel Supply.

"For redevelopment priorities, this is a city owned property. And currently it is not being used by the community. It is contaminated so no access is allowed to the property," said Mayor Matt Harter. "And if we can get it cleaned up, we can move it toward being an asset for the community and something that can be used by the community."

While Harter says preparing the land should be a top priority, city Planner Larry Kirch says there are other places those capital improvement dollars should be spent.

"Specific neighborhoods in the city have been, for decades, in a state of deterioration, in spite of everything we've done, that doesn't mean we haven't worked on it. But as a community, to me, that should take higher priority than Mobile oil," Kirch said.

It is the responsibility of ExxonMobil to clean up this site. But the Patros site is the responsibility of the city. It will cost about $525,000 to clean that up. And they may get some assistance from a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

"We have $16 million in reserve here in the city of La Crosse, which can be used for these types of projects," Harter said.

While they don't agree on dollar amount that should to toward preparing the land for a developer, Kirch and Harter agree the clean up should continue.

"It's not like we're going to say, 'No we're not working on Mobile oil.' It's where should the city focus more of it's resources," Kirch said.

The total cost to prepare the land for a developer would be about $13 million dollars.

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