LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The Powell-Hood-Hamilton area is one of La Crosse's oldest neighborhoods. It is home to about 2,700 people.
Consultants want to blend the neighborhood and nearby Gundersen Lutheran campus to improve the neighborhoods' appearance and perception.
Thursday, consultants met with residents to get to hear what they wanted to see in their neighborhood
The first hour of the meeting consultants presented their ideas to the group; they talked about things they thought should be added to the area like a grocery store, retail shopping and landscaping.
Then, residents had a chance to tell the consultants where they'd like to see improvement.
"I would like it to be safer," Rebecca Smith, resident said.
Smith bought her first home four years ago on Johnson Street.
"Everybody cautioned me about buying into neighborhood," Smith said. "But I think as more people invest in it, it could be something much better than it is."
She said it is just a few places, that have a lot of crime associated with it, that are giving the whole neighborhood a bad reputation.
She thinks the neighborhood meetings are bringing more positive attention to the area and driving out some problems.
"It's like shining a light on an area will make it less attractive to have some crime," Smith said.
Todd Wolfgram is hoping to shine a light on what's missing.
"It's kind of like a retail desert," Wolfgram said. "Besides one or two little spots. You have to leave to get anything, especially food."
Consultants said there are a lot of opportunities around South Avenue where 20,000 cars pass through each day.
"We've heard about a log of areas in the neighborhood we want to capitalize on," Ben Sporer, Project Manager said. "It is a good stable neighborhood now there are probably a few properties that could be redeveloped over time."
Besides redeveloping properties, consultants also mentioned trail extensions to make alternate transportation easier, and kayak rentals to take advantage of the water.
The consultants are in town for two more days; Friday they'll spend some time going over everyone's suggestions and develop some of those ideas.
Saturday morning, they'll present them to the community at 10 at the Southside Neighborhood Center.
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