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Center board suggests La Crosse County pitch in for $49-million renovation

Brad Williams

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A $49 million renovation to the La Crosse Center still hasn’t been approved by the city council but now it appears more funding could get involved.

While the state of Wisconsin is pitching in $5 million, La Crosse County could possibly pitch in $60,000, over a set period of time.

That’s what Center board president Brent Smith suggested at a county board meeting Monday night.

It’s a similar to agreement that was used to help build the University of Wisconisn-La Crosse football stadium.

Smith and Center director Art Fahey spoke to county supervisors about how a larger civic center could bring more revenue to the area.

Smith told county supervisors that if the Center is not enlarged and made more modern, large events, like this month’s MOSES Organic Farming conference, could go to other cities.

Supervisors asked how much more space would be added to the civic center with a new west wing built toward the Mississippi River and about how many customers might be brought to downtown hotels by bigger events.

La Crosse County’s executive committee will be asked to study funding options.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also 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. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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