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Friday - July 6, 2018 1:41 am

Olson pushes to change public perceptions on La Crosse Center expansion plans Featured

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There is a final desperate heave to get plans for a La Crosse Center expansion to the finish line.

The council has to override a mayoral veto on the $49 million expansion to move the project along. City council member Jessica Olson is pushing to change some public sentiment on the issue

"The biggest problem we have right now is the misinformation," Olson said from the WIZM studio Thursday. "People think this is a final design and it's not."

Olson, who represents the city council on the La Crosse Center Board, says the entire board is to blame for not being more proactive in generating support in the public for the project.

Business groups are lobbying the city council, while council members like Olson are responding to massive numbers of emails and calls on the divisive issue as the opportunity to override the veto draws nearer.

Olson said it was never the intention to create something big for big's sake.

"The spirit of this plan was to set the Center staff up for success over the next 20 years," she said. "It wasn't, how big can we go or how much can we spend? It was, what's going to ensure that the Center Board doesn't have to come back to council in 10 years and say, 'We ran out of room. We need to do another expansion.'"

Olson maintains the current plan is the one that will keep the Center operational for decades in the future.

"If we're going to invest in it, we have to invest in it right," she said.

The city council could override Kabat's veto on the project at a meeting next week. Kabat's veto said the current plan is too expensive, too big and not terribly attractive. Kabat, who has insisted that he supports an expansion, also isn't a fan that it extends into Riverside Park.


Last modified on Friday - July 6, 2018 2:14 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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