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Friday - October 13, 2017 8:49 am

Why were there bags on the parking meters, 36 years ago?

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In November of 1981, La Crosse tried an experiment to keep shoppers coming downtown, after the opening of the Valley View Mall.  The city council considered a one-year suspension of nearly 700 curbside parking meters, and later reduced that to a three-month trial.  Eventually, all the city-owned meters were removed, and were kept in storage until a recent sale.  When bags were placed on the meters to allow two-hour free parking, some drivers thought parking was banned in those spaces, and they tried to park somewhere else.  City Hall estimated that it would lose tens of thousands of dollars without those meters.

The Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium was empty and unused, a year after being replaced by the La Crosse Center.  But the center board voted to rent the Sawyer to the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps for $5000 a year. 

Gas prices in La Crosse averaged $1.29 a gallon around Thanksgiving of '81.  Some of the lowest prices for regular gasoline could be found at Frank-Len on N. 3rd St., the Clark gas station on Lang Drive, and the Citgo Quick Mart on West Avenue near campus.  Cheap gas in 1981, yesterday in La Crosse.


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Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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