La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat casts a number of criticisms as he vetoed the La Crosse Center expansion project Monday.
In a letter dated Monday to members of the city council, which can be read below, Kabat is critical of the design of the expansion. In part, he said the veto is about "concept B1 unnecessarily encroaching into the region's most loved park."
Kabat believes the expansion can be done without eliminating open space.
Later in the letter, he said the "current design lacks inspiration and detracts from the aesthetics at one of the most beautiful and historic sites anywhere on the Mississippi River. It does not honor La Crosse's history, nor does it demonstrate any passion - it is a big, plain, flat box. La Crosse deserves better."
The letter also takes the council to task for what Kabat calls their "lack of fiscal discipline". The additional $7.2 million request for funds for the project, which would bring the total cost to $49.2 million, would cause the city to raise property taxes according to Kabat.
He recommended in the letter that "the La Crosse Center board and architects get back to work and reconfigure the space to avoid Riverside Park." He also said they should work with the $42 million already approved by the council.
Kabat's letter said the veto isn't about a lack of support for the project, the La Crosse Center board, or center staff. He said he's advocated for the project "from day one".
La Crosse Center Board President Brent Smith told WXOW following the announcement of the mayor's veto, "We'll still have a La Crosse Center expansion project, but it's an ongoing discussion.