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Tuesday - June 12, 2018 12:51 am

La Crosse's mayor opposes Center park encroachment, cost Featured

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The La Crosse Center expansion plans getting a vote this week by the city council may have a lot of fans.

The man with the veto pen on the sixth floor of City Hall isn't one of them.

Mayor Tim Kabat says he doesn't like the Center expansion jutting out over Riverside Park, covering a half acre of green space — space that was supposed to be a grove of trees in the park's original design.

“The earlier studies that were done a couple years ago, showed expansions on that side of the building, toward the park, but not actually into the park,” Kabat said Monday from the WIZM studio. “I'm just leaning more toward this idea of not actually going into Riverside Park.”

Kabat also doesn't approve of ways to pay for the massive Center expansion — raising property taxes or slowing spending on things like street repair.

“Right now, I don't think our options are all that great,” Kabat said.

Kabat says the $49 million expansion plan that the council is poised to approve this week will likely cost millions more. It's unclear what action he'll take if the council moves to approve the plan and he’s not thrilled about the readiness of some on the council ready to soak property taxpayers to pay for it.

“There's gotta be ways that we can come up with financial alternatives that allow us to move forward without raising taxes,” Kabat said.

Kabat was OK with the former $42 million plan that held borrowing for the project to $35 million.

The council is set to vote Thursday on whether to approve borrowing $43 million towards the $49 million expansion project. Kabat says the cost for that plan could end up more like at least $51 million..

“(That) has me concerned to say the least,” Kabat said.

Here's the full interview with Kabat:

Monday with Mayor Kabat on #WIZM. TEXT or call 608.785.7914

Posted by 1410 WIZM - La Crosse's News Station on Monday, June 11, 2018
Last modified on Tuesday - June 12, 2018 2:35 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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