LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The city of La Crosse has continually stressed the correlation between city parks and economic development.
If you ask the mayor, he'd refer you to Poage Park, which was part of a neighborhood that had a blighted reputation.
But after some upgrades, home values increased and crime seems to have gone down.
Now the city is looking for almost $2 million in TIF funding to improve Erickson, Trane and Diagonal Parks.
Monday night, the La Crosse County Board agreed to chip in $350,000 for the project.
Trane Park may have home plate, but it's no field of dreams for park-goes.
"I can't really take my two-year old daughter on (the play set). I'm worried about her getting scraped or (falling) down, or there's stuff sticking up on the play set where she can easily fall over,” said Krystal Huck.
Huck said unless Trane Park gets an upgrade, she may not bring her back to play.
"She pretty much can't run around the park and have a good time,” Huck said.
Metal is sticking up on the play set, swings are rusting and most of the park could use a paint job.
"Just because I'm a city resident doesn't make me a second class county resident. And (the County Board has) never spent a penny on any of the parks in the City of La Crosse.” said David Holtze, the county board supervisor for District 12.
That's why Holtze is in favor of approving CapX 2020 funds to the city for park improvements. That money is for one-time use and it's not tax payer money.
The city of La Crosse asked the county for $350,000 to upgrade Erickson, Diagonal and Trane Parks, just a fraction of money required for the almost $2 million dollar project.
"When we invest in those parks, the housing values, the people's investments all go up, so it benefits everybody,” said Mayor Tim Kabat.
That's what he explained to the board Monday night.
Holtze and his colleagues unanimously agreed. According to Holtze, it's the first time the county has funded a city park.
"The bigger parks that a lot of kids go to (for) the equipment that they like, maybe (bring) it here,” said Huck, who has a few ideas of her own to make Trane Park a go-to for families.
Of Trane's 1,700 employees in La Crosse, 1,000 live outside the city limits, according to Mayor Kabat. That factored into the county's decision to contribute.
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