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Council member charges funding decision inconsistencies with park, pool

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One park project gets funded, another does not. It happens all the time but the latest such decision in La Crosse gets under the skin of city council member Jessica Olson.

She’s not happy that planned funding for a new Memorial Pool project is on hold until a neighborhood group can come up with a $500,000 in donations. It’s not the same treatment for the Trane All-Abilities Park on the southside, she says.

“I don’t see us holding up the Trane project because all of their donations that they’ve said that they want to raise have come in yet,” Olson said.

Late last week, the city council approved $792,700 in funding for the first phase of the Trane Park project.

“They’re actually several million dollars short but yet we voted to go ahead,” Olson said. “We’re not holding trane park project hostage over a private fundraising expectation.

“I’m not against private fundraising at all, but when the city says we’re just going to cut off the tap, and not move and not support you, it can be very discouraging to them.”

Olson thinks the city can find money somewhere to completely fund the Memorial Pool project for next year at $3.1 million. The pool’s been closed for the last three seasons. Despite a lack of complete funding, the project is scheduled to begin this fall.