Donations and volunteers appear to be the new recipe for success for improving parks in La Crosse.
That’s the mix that is leading to the update at Leuth park next to Lang Drive.
Donations have helped fund the project, along with a lot of volunteer hours and expertise to get it done.
It’s part of dealing with the reality of dealing with other infrastructure needs in the city, said La Crosse Parks superintendent Jay Odegaard.
“We have to start getting creative as budgets are getting tighter,” Odegaard. “We all know our roads here in La Crosse need to be addressed.”
The project has moved along despite the city’s new focus on road repairs above all else. Odegaard says he recognizes the need to deal with that new reality.
“We have two options and one is we don’t build parks anymore, or two, we get creative and figure out ways — we can work with private funding and grant opportunities and really volunteers,” Odegaard said.
Leuth park has closed for crews to complete work on the new bicycle pump track and skills course there, as well as renovations to the skate park.
Dirt Monkey LLC, doing the excavating for the track, posted on Facebook, “This has been an amazing project to be apart of! We have went from a softball field to the only paved bicycle pump track in the midwest.”
City funding for the project is estimated to be about $200,000 and the park could reopen by next month.
“It’s kind of a visual entrance point into La Crosse coming down the highway there,” Odegaard said. “And, it was somewhat of an eyesore, so to speak, so we thought it was a good location to do a park project.”
The work is funded in part through donations and a grant from the La Crosse Community Foundation. Countless volunteer hours have been coordinated through the local Outdoor Recreation Alliance organization.