LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—Mayo Clinic Health System, Western Technical College and Hillview Urban Agriculture Center are coming together to build a $1.6 million green house and learning center.
The Western Technical College Urban Landscape and Agriculture Center will be located on the corner of 7th and Vine streets.
The center be funded in part by a $220,000 donation from Mayo Clinic Health System and the La Crosse Community Foundation.
Two and a half years ago,11 citizens partnered together to keep a the Hillview Urban Agriculture Center alive.
"It's bigger than we ever imagined it would be when we came together. It's going to have a much bigger impact," Leanne Carlson, President, Hillview Urban Agriculture Center said.
Hillview Urban Agriculture Center will move and expand into the new Western Technical College Urban Landscape and Agriculture Center.
"The greenhouse is aged and really isn't functioning any longer so the new green house will provide us with a state of the art facility," Joe Kruse, Chief Administrative Officer, Mayo Clinic Health System said.
The center will not only be a green house, but a place for the community to learn about living and eating healthy.
"Our work is to teach people that it can be really easy and inexpensive to cook nourishing meals," Carlson said.
"It creates a hub for us to understand and learn about how to create sustainable food sources for ourselves into the future," Kruse said.
Western students will help the neighborhood of the current green house become more sustainable. They will build five new energy efficient homes in its place once it's torn down.
"Our students, as graduates in five to seven years will be working for many organizations in our community and they'll have the skill set on how to do this construction at this energy efficient level," Lee Rasch, President Western Technical College said.
"This neighborhood has a lot of historical significance," Carlson said "While it's been interesting and good to have a green house here. This neighborhood is going to be so much better served having these homes here."
They hope the new center becomes a national role model on how a community can work together to transform health and economic vitality.
Construction could begin on this project in 2013, if the Western referendum passes; if it does not, the project will begin a year later.