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Kahlow fights, wins in battle to save Cass Street trees



It’s not a myth. One person can successfully fight city hall if that person is passionate and dedicated enough.

It actually happened this week in La Crosse’s city hall.

Property owner and noted preservationist Chris Kahlow fought for and won an 11th-hour reprieve for a couple of boulevard trees facing the the literal axe as part of the Cass Street reconstruction.

Kahlow, after successfully arguing Monday to save the two mature honey locusts said, “I’m surprised and elated and, it kind of renews my faith in government.”

The city’s engineering department had planned for removal because of conflicts with the street project. Kahlow reflects diplomatically on her interaction with the department.

“I think they tried to work with me,” she said. “I just, I guess, I didn’t accept their answers so I had to take it further.”

The engineer in charge of the Cass Street project doubts the trees will survive and maintains the tree roots will continue to damage sidewalks and curbs.

That, however, is fine with Kahlow, whose tree was the recipient of the severe brush cut.

“A 50-50 chance is better than having it taken down because it’s gone then,” she said.

While preparing to remove the trees, the engineering department apparently had no plans to replace the trees.

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