LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The City of La Crosse said they're always looking for new ways to strengthen the community.
Monday, the city awarded five organizations who used federal grants to do just that.
Community Development Block Grants are used to grow economies, revitalize neighborhoods, and improve quality of life for low income residents.
Over the past 40 years, the city has been allotted more than $30 million in those grants.
"The allocation that the city receives goes out into the community and then comes back many, many times over,” said Mayor Tim Kabat. “La Crosse would not be the community it is today if it were not for community development block grant dollars."
It's a proud fact for Mayor Tim Kabat who said five organizations were a step above the rest of funded projects. They include the People's Food Co-Op, Authenticom, Western Technical College, the La Crosse Boys & Girls Club and the Kane Street Community Garden.
"Feeding the community, helping the low income in the community, we're so happy and blessed that the city has recognized this,” said Shelly Fortner, executive director of the La Crosse Hunger Task Force that manages the community garden.
The garden provides more than 28,000 pounds of free, fresh produce to the entire community.
Boys & Girls Club Executive director Mike Desmond said the grants help his team create a safe place for kids.
"What the eyeball test shows is that when they can engage a place like the Boy & Girls Club, a positive atmosphere, positive role models, quality relationships, these risk factors drop dramatically,” Desmond said.
He also gives a lot of credit to the City of La Crosse. Without its help, Desmond said programs like these wouldn't be possible.
Mayor Tim Kabat surprised Councilwoman Peg Jerome, presenting her with the sixth award of the afternoon for her work finding projects to fund with the Community Development Block Grants.
Rep. Ron Kind, (D)-WI 3rd Congressional District, a La Crosse native, was also on hand to celebrate the work of local organizations and advocate for more community development block grant funding.
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