The La Crosse Municipal Harbor is in need of repairs to meet state and federal standards which leaves the city on a shortened time line if they want the harbor open for the 2018 boating season.
To demolish and ultimately rebuild the municipal harbor, it would cost $1.8 million according to the city. They're in the process of deciding whether they need to take on that responsibility, or to wait and find a third party.
A decision is needed soon. Boaters in the area have already reserved slips for next year and are now wondering if those reservations can be honored.
"I think the city should honor those and that's why I think it's another call for having the city step in, getting those things corrected, and then ensuring that for those that have paid for a 2018 slip that they have got certainty that there's going to be one there for them," La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said.
This decision comes late in the process due to eviction proceedings with the previous third party owner, who the city said defaulted on his lease. Mayor Kabat fears that if the city does not step in and run the harbor as part of the parks department, the months-long process to find a new third party operator may mean the harbor would not be ready in time. He said funding for the project could come from the reserve fund and TIF monies, using revenue generated from the harbor to replenish the reserve fund.
The city council has a special session on the matter on Thursday October 12. A public hearing on the design will be held the following Tuesday, October 17 at City Hall.