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City wants public input on Riverside North Development

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The City of La Crosse is moving forward with ideas on how to design the “Old Mobil Oil Site” on the Northside.

The city’s Redevelopment Authority brought in Urban Waterfront Design Specialist Ed Freer to inform La Crosse residents on the best ways to design the area related to the city’s Riverside North Redevelopment Project.

The Redevelopment Authority wants to hear from the public what would be best for the vacant 65-acre site for the La Crosse community.

The city’s goal for the Riverside North project is to compliment, not compete, with downtown La Crosse.

On Thursday, the Authority brought in Freer to provide examples of urban waterfront developments in cities around the world, and how La Crosse can use similar principles.

The Redevelopment Authority has been planning to build on the Old Mobil Oil Site for ten years in hopes of putting 65 acres of unused land to better use.

“We didn’t go through 20 to 30 years of acquisition of the property to just have it sit there. Some of it will be developed in an environmentally sustainable way,” Redevelopment Authority Director Larry Kirch said.

The Redevelopment Authority held their second of three public sessions at Western Technical College on Thursday to give La Crosse residents a chance to voice their opinions, thoughts, and concerns regarding the Riverside project.

“So far, we haven’t had a lot of negative feedback. I think people are interested in the project,” Kirch said.

Thursday’s meeting featured Freer, Principal Landscape Architect Designer from SmithGroupJRR, to provide many examples of urban waterfront designs from around the world to the public. Freer has previously worked with contractors which have designed urban waterfronts in Europe and all across the United States.

“I want to tell people what is happening in other places, what are the ingredients that make these cities successful, and what can we learn from them and what do we want the Mobil Site to be for La Crosse,” Freer said.

Freer offered many of his ideas to the public on how to design the Riverside North waterfront, and he said he sees potential along the city’s waterfront on La Crosse’s Northside.

“It has excellent potential. If you start recognizing the value of your waterfront, the public access, you can leverage that.” Freer said.

Kirch said the city could approve a proposal for the Old Mobil Oil Site as early as October, and he wants the public to know that their voice counts when it comes to improving La Crosse.

The Redevelopment Authority will hold their final public meeting on April 24th at Western Technical College. The final session will cover the environmental impact the site has on La Crosse.

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