Emotions ran high at City Hall on Thursday night as the Coulee Council on Addictions won approval to build its new facility on the South side of La Crosse.
The rezoning passed by just one vote. The vote came out at 10-3 in a supermajority vote. The supermajority was used to pass the rezoning because of the large number of people who objected the zoning change.
The council kept the room on the edge of their seats all the way up to the final vote. Council members went back and forth sharing their positions on the issue.
Council Member Jacqueline Marcou spoke first against the zoning change. She believed the space should be set aside for single house development to help the Washburn Neighborhood grow in the future. Council President Marty Gaul and Council Member Barb Janssen ultimately agreed with her stance. They reminded those in attendance that it did not reflect on the importance of Coulee Council on Addictions' work within the community.
Council Member Patrick Brever argued that if the council supported their work, the organization should be supported fully including the right to rezone for the new facility.
In the end, Coulee Council on Addictions got the outcome they have anxiously awaited for so long.
"Now, we can get serious about moving forward with construction for our new facility, the Coulee Recovery Center," said Tom Thompson with Coulee Council on Addictions. "And, a message has been sent certainly to the recovery community and to their families that support them."
Thompson says that message is that the La Crosse community cares. The new facility will allow those in recovery to receive better treatment aimed toward helping the whole person.
It was standing room only at Thursday night's meeting with people crowded in the room to show support for the project. Thompson hopes that support transitions into raising the remaining funds for the recovery center.
Thompson says the next step is to work with the Washburn Neighborhood to go over construction plans. He hopes to see groundbreaking on the new facility by the end of October.