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Interior priority before finalizing exterior in $49 million La Crosse Center renovation

Brad Williams



There’s still lots of work to be done on the plans for renovating the La Crosse Center, before the final green light comes on. Artist renderings of a large overhang jutting out into Riverside Park have attracted the public’s attention, but

Olson was among the center representatives giving a progress report to the La Crosse park board on Thursday. Center board chairman Brent

It looks like a big white box hovering over La Crosse’s Riverside Park.

That’s how some people have reacted to drawings of a planned addition to the La Crosse Center.

Center Board member Jessica Olson said the exterior design will be one of the last parts of the $49-million renovation to get approval.

“When you do a project, you don’t get into the weeds picking out carpet samples and drapes before you have a floor plan,” she said.

Leaders of the center management say the design could still change in the next few months.

La Crosse Center director Art Fahey told the city park board Thursday night that he hopes there will be a lot of activity in the area of the park underneath the overhanging wing that’s being designed.

“This could slide up or down depending on how the city council or the board discusses how that would look in the future,” Fahey said.

The proposed addition would hang more than 25 feet above Riverside Park, and people would still be able to use the park beneath the building.

Olson, who represents the city council on the board, added that the interior plans need to be finished first, “and then we can get into some of the more artistic details, which obviously we’re going to come back here and go to other entities for advice and guidance on because that’s not just the realm of the Center,” she said.

Center Board chair Brent Smith said designers are likely to do some “softening” of the addition’s look before it’s actually constructed.

He’ll also be ready to answer more questions about the building’s impact on the riverfront at a meeting in May.

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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