LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—La Crosse Committee of the Whole gave its okay Tuesday night to move forward with Powell Hood Hamilton/Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center Joint Neighborhood and Campus Plan; this after a presentation from consultants, Perkins and Will, of the final draft of the plan.
The full council will vote on the plan Thursday.
Gundersen Lutheran's board will look at the plan once council approves it.
The next step is to begin work. They'll start by forming a joint development corporation that will over see implementing the plan.
One of the first changes the plan calls for is more connections, like sidewalks and intersections.
"There was a lack of connectivity on the southern site," David Green, Principal, Perkins and Will said. "By creating more connection, we're proposing we can double the level of connectivity which allows people to move through."
Right now, the neighborhood has 90 intersections per square mile, the proposal found 185 possible.
"We want to connect to downtown," Michael Richards, Executive Director of External Affairs, Gundersen Lutheran said. "We want neighbors to feel connected to us, whether that's a bike option or crossing."
They also want to make the neighborhood safer so people feel comfortable walking around, using those new connections.
"Whether it's a real or perceived issue in the neighborhood," Richards said. "It's an issue that needs to be addressed. One option is lighting."
The consultants used Chattanooga, Tenn. as an example where they added new LED street lights and eliminated almost all night time crime.
"Many of these things can be done very simply with out a lot of capital investment," Green said.
Green said improving the Powell Hood Hamilton Neighborhood will benefit everyone, not just the people living in that area.
"It's going to start bringing people into La Crosse as a cultural and entertainment hub," Green said. "So it actually benefits everybody from an economic perspective, cultural perspective and health perspective."
Consultants wrote the final draft of the plan with room for changes as the area grows. It can act as a model of transformation for the entire city, expanding out from Powell Hood Hamilton to adjacent neighborhoods.
Since the plan is written to take place over the next decade, consultants said there is no way to know the final cost of the revitalization.
It will be paid for in part through a TIF district, meaning tax dollars paid to the city by Gundersen Lutheran will stay in that neighborhood.
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