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City works to prevent Tent City return along river



It was about this time last year workers cleared out what was called Tent City along the Black River.

It had been a decades old, off-and-on encampment for the homeless, north of La Crosse’s Riverside Park.

Tents have been popping up again in the area this spring. Police, however, aren’t ignoring it like they once did.

The homeless are getting pushed out but with an eye towards where they can go next says police captain Jason Melby.

“We do the best we can to monitor it with some of the service providers in the area — to work with them to get them more appropriate living conditions,” he said.

Police have had to hit the old Mobil Oil site area a couple of times to roust the homeless pitching tents there, according to Melby.

“We’ve been monitoring that area, as well as several other areas in the city, trying to make sure people are living in proper living conditions,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do that. We’re going to continue to monitor the area down at the old Mobil site.

“There’s a variety of areas, and sometimes it can just be a random area out in the marsh. We’ve got a variety of areas through the river bottoms where we’ll see encampments pop up.”

Melby says the city simply doesn’t want another ‘large scale’ homeless encampment, like what existed in that area in the past.

It’s the same area that’s primed for a mixed development of residential and commercial that could reach $200 million in value.

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