Where Rose Street meets I-90 is one of the busiest places in La Crosse. 32,000 vehicles each day pass through and thanks to a four-year-long project, what they see as they drive by is completely different.
A ribbon cutting Wednesday signaled the end of that project, which added a 4-acre eagle viewing area for one of La Crosse's most majestic perennial residents.
“To have projects where we're getting people connected to the water, connected to that resource I think is so vitally important,” La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said.
Beyond that, the $65 million project also added muti-use trails connecting La Crosse with Onalaska and landscape improvements including thousands of trees and plants.
“To try to get people – especially if you were walking or biking – from La Crosse to Onalaska was really dangerous and not really even possible. Now with the multi-use path, people can do that,” Mayor Kabat said.
City officials now look forward to the positive impact on their own improvement plans for the area in the form of the US Hwy 53 Corridor plans. The final plans were adopted by the city in spring of 2018.
“Not only does it mean something for the north side, it means something for our whole community,” District 1 Council Member Andrea Richmond said.
The eagle viewing area is in the center of what they call "Pulse Node A" one of four major areas pegged for redevelopment plans. "Pulse Node A" will focus mainly on mixed use developments meant to bring new housing and business to the area.
“We're looking at possibly Bridgeview Plaza, improving our parks along our corridor with Badger/Hickey Park and development over behind Walgreens,” Richmond said.
Officials say the completely revamped gateway into La Crosse is a major help to get the ball rolling on these new developments.
“People in this area have been talking about this for a long time,” Mayor Kabat said. “And to have this now really showcases just how beautiful this place is.”