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Mayor Kabat’s senior center plans to get council vote tonight



The next step forward for La Crosse senior centers are real ones, after a vote tonight by the city council.

The council is expected to agree to Mayor Tim Kabat’s proposals for immediate spending on plans to fix the Harry J. Olson center on the north side and relocate the south side center.

Even if the Harry J. Olson building is well over 100 years old, says Kabat, rehabbing it is the best choice.

“It’s on the bus route. It has parking. It has all of these attributes,” Kabat said. “So, let’s go ahead and move forward and get it fixed.

“It’s a city property. We should be taking care of it. It’s kind of embarrassing we’ve waited this long to do some of those fixes. And I’m all for let’s getting on it with.”

For months leading up to Kabat’s decision, a special committee formed to study the centers recommended spending up to $20,000 for more study.

“We’ve been pushing this issue kind of down the road, hoping there would be some miraculous solution,” Kabat said. “I do think it’s time for us to stop studying and start moving forward with repairs.”

The mayor’s proposal calls for $20,000 to design a senior center addition for the south branch library and another $25,000 would go toward planning repairs to the Harry J. Olson center.

The repairs to the Harry J. Olson building have raised eyebrows, because they could cost $250,000 or more. Kabat, however, sees that as a deal when considering the money needed on building something else.

“In the short run it’s gonna address some of those immediate needs but it’s a better financial solution in the long run,” he said.

Kabat also envions the building possibly being better utilized.

“Maybe looking for ways that it can just be enhanced and become more of a community center, rather than a senior center is, in the long run,” Kabat said.

Building fixes for both senior centers have been delayed for years while the city determined whether it would even have such places in the future.


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