LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The Riverside North Redevelopment project was in full swing on Wednesday, as members from the city’s Redevelopment Authority held another tour as part of their charrette, or intense 7-day planning process.
Members from the city group guided residents through the 65-acre, Riverside North Redevelopment site, to help the public gain a better knowledge of the land—and give residents an opportunity to voice their opinions on how the site can best be used.
“I’d like to see what the potential for this area is,” La Crosse resident Andrew Londre said.
Redevelopment Authority Director Larry Kirch said the goal of the charrette is simple—to find out what the public thinks the best way is to use the land.
“It’s all about community consensus. That’s what the value of the charrette is,” Kirch said.
After residents toured the site, they expressed their opinions on what could be on the Exxon Old Mobil Oil Site. Some residents said they believe the site could include an ice-skating rink, dog parks, apartments, restaurants, stores, and nature trails among other ideas.
“There are so many different things you could do with this area. I think the community understands some type of mixed use of the area, not just one thing, is probably the best way to go,” Londre said.
“Places to go, picnics, bring the kids out, hang out, go fishing. You ought to have a fishing ramp out here,” resident A.J. Saunders said.
Saunders said he believes the city is doing everything they can to make it right for people and the environment, but he believes money could be an issue down the road.
“You could so some wonderful things here, but there is always budgetary considerations,” Saunders said.
Kirch said money and differing opinions on what to build on the site will all tie into a potential final product.
“All those things get rolled into what’s going to happen here,” Kirch said.
The charrette is the first of its kind in La Crosse, as it gives the city and public an opportunity to condense a year and a half of planning into one week.
The charrette will also include public meetings at the Weber and Coleman Center at Western Technical College through Sunday. The city will formulate a final plan this Monday and Tuesday, and present a final plan to the public at the Weber Center on Tuesday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m.
After Tuesday, the Redevelopment Authority will go into a post-charrette phase, which will involve fine tuning of the final plan for potentially the next three months.
Before the charrette ends, the Redevelopment Authority will host three more one-hour tours on Friday at the Riverside North site between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.