Poage Park getting $350,000 renovation - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Poage Park getting $350,000 renovation

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LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association met Wednesday night to discuss a $350,000 renovation of Poage Park, formerly called Hood Park.

This spring, the city renamed the park in tribute to former south side resident George Coleman Poage.

Poage  became the first African American athlete to win a medal at the Olympic games in 1904.

His life is what the city will use as inspiration for the parks transformation.

"Structures that have relationship to the Olympic Games," Steve Carlyon, Director of Parks and Recreation said.  "The symbol people know."

They want people to stop thinking of this park as something to play on, but something to play in.  It will become one of the most unique parks in the Midwest.

"This is not a park where we're going to buy a swing set and teeter totter and stick them into the ground," Carolyn said. "All of these structures are going to be designed and specifically adapted for a couple of things."

The park will be a place where everyone can play together, including people with special needs.  It will also be adapted to the culture of the south side; including the Native American history and the Hmong culture that makes up much of the area's population currently.

Gerber leisure products, the company that designed Crowley Park with the help of Emerson Elementary students, is working on the playground.

"I want it to be a family friendly place," Phillip Ostrem, Chair, PPH Neighborhood Association said.  "We need some shade, some greenery, trees would be nice. We've talked about progressive exercise stations, walking track around the park."

They're considering some kind of splash pad that could double as an ice skating rink.

Viterbo University students are working on a survey they'll take door to door to get even more ideas because this is a project the city want to represent the whole neighborhood.

The next PPH Neighborhood Association meeting will be on November 20 at 7:15 p.m. in the Southside Neighborhood Center.

They're hoping the public will come to the meeting to share their thoughts on Poage Park designs that will be revealed during the meeting.

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