The City of La Crosse moved ahead with the next step on an ordinance allowing the Coulee Council on Addictions to build a new location. The ordinance was approved by the J&A Committee with a vote of 4-2. It will go to the Common Council for vote in the coming weeks.
Their prospective new location would take up 6 lots of the 900 block on Ferry Street. Their current building on West Avenue is in disrepair and not ADA compliant, according to members of the Coulee Council board. Those in favor characterized the need to move with a sense of urgency. However, the new facility would remove the community garden and vermicomposting center currently using those lots. Neighbors main concerns in opposition were losing the garden and composting center, as well as what they felt could be a negative atmosphere for children in the neighborhood. Most in opposition did agree that what the Coulee Council provides is important to the city, but didn't think that the new location was appropriate.
"We moved in a year and a half ago under the neighborhood revitalization program," said Washburn resident Cassie Woodward, who was most concerned about losing the children's programs along with the gardens and composting center. "With our neighbors and the people from those organizations, we've seen a huge change in the neighborhood and we don't want those to go away."
Members of the board stressed that they would work with neighbors to address any concerns they may have, and pointed to their already 49 year history in La Crosse as merit for trustworthiness.
"I think we get to a place very simply," said Board President Dan Radtke. "As soon as people can sit down and have good honest discussions... honest discussions with open minds, I think we can get there."