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Arts Board looks at Riverside North

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The riverfront land in La Crosse which used to be the Mobil Oil site remains open to development ideas, including new works of public art.

The city’s Arts Board toured the Riverside North area Tuesday to look at places where new art could be placed. Members walked through the trail area, which has been established near the Black River. 

Doug Weidenbach, chairman of the board, said art that fits in with the environment is a desired goal.

“One art idea that has been proposed for Riverside North is an archway made of tree branches, arranged to resemble the Losey Arch at Oak Grove Cemetery,” Weidenbach said.

Board secretary Lewis Kuhlman led the tour of the nature area north of the La Crosse River.

“From a natural perspective, it’s actually in the floodplain,” Kuhlman said. “Not just in the floodplain but in the floodway. So there are significant natural challenges and natural benefits to the site.”

An important element of the Riverside North’s master plan includes public art. Ideas for works of art that incorporate water or trees are under consideration.

The tour was followed by a public listening session by the Arts Board at City Hall.

Local artist and designer Roald Gundersen wants to promote art for that property, which would enhance the natural beauty of the three-rivers area.

“Just notice the change in the context, obviously to really wild landscape,” Gundersen said, “and that contrast, I think is really worth noting both as you go into it and as you come out the other end.”

Gundersen designed the plans for a new canopy for the Riverside Park bandstand. Renovation work has begun at the bandstand, with the concrete and wooden benches recently being removed.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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