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La Crosse city council approves budget with new funding for pool project

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Building a new Memorial Pool for La Crosse in 2019 is suddenly becoming a reality.

The city council agreed Thursday night to a spending plan for 2019 that includes, essentially, digging out some coins from under the couch cushions in order to put money towards the construction of a replacement for the pool at UW-La Crosse.

The right thing to do, said city council member Barb Janssen.

“We need this social capital and this space just to keep us moving in the right direction because we’re really kind of losing some ground in some of our neighborhoods as far as community,” Janssen said at the meeting. “This is just one more reason why people are going to want to live in La Crosse and move to La Crosse.”

The spending plan also includes $1.9 million for a new pickleball and tennis facility on Green Island, along with $1 million for the All-Abilities Trane Park on the city’s south side.

One of the messages from city council members in approving the last-minute funding was, ‘Why wait?’

The effort was led by council president Martin Gaul, who came up with a couple hundred thousand dollars for the pool, rather than wait until 2020.

Gaul says there is no reason to hold off when the council had already agreed to a new pool.

“I think it’s an important thing for us always to remember that, no matter what it is that we are doing, it’s our job to do as efficiently and expeditiously as we possibly can,” Gaul said.