LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse County Board envisions a future of expanded retail, residential, restaurant, or possibly recreational space in the Lot C service parking lot directly south of the County Law Enforcement building.
The city’s Lot C advisory committee, which includes local government officials, business leaders and other stakeholders, has been recommending ideas to the La Crosse County Board ways to improve the service parking lot.
The county and city of La Crosse hope to utilize mixed-use development on the 2.3 acre parking lot, meaning there could potentially be courtyard space, a hotel, and perhaps even an open plaza available for the public.
“It really has the potential to draw new people into La Crosse and keep people here longer than they have been,” County Board Supervisor Tara Johnson said.
Johnson said redeveloping the space could potentially add “millions” of dollars of tax base to the city. “It would benefit the city, it would benefit the county, it will bring people into downtown in numbers that can do nothing but help downtown,” Johnson said.
City Council member James Cherf said redeveloping Lot C could present many opportunities for new jobs. “We would think good paying jobs would be something that everyone would appreciate in this community,” Cherf said.
Cherf, owner of “James Galleries Custom Framing” in downtown La Crosse, said redevelopment could not only help boost his own business, but other neighboring local businesses as well.
“I think the public would enjoy seeing some more complimentary and exciting structures go up, which would provide a variety of opportunities for people to utilize them,” Cherf said.
Potential redevelopment of Lot C would likely coordinate with the Riverside North redevelopment project on the “Old Mobil Oil” site, as Johnson and Cherf both said these projects gives downtown La Crosse “excellent potential”.
Instead of using tax-payer dollars, Johnson said the County Board hopes to find a private developer to pay for the potential redevelopment of Lot C.
Last Friday, the County took their first step in asking developers to share their experiences with the county by filing a Request for Qualification.
County officials said they hope to hear proposals for Lot C and trim the list of applicants by May 7th. These finalists would then submit their proposals for Lot C to the La Crosse County Board by mid-June and depending on the proposals, the County Board could select a developer as early as July.