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Fundraising for Memorial Pool gets boost with city commitment

Mitch Reynolds

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With a commitment to be open in 2019, Veterans Memorial Pool supporters now have to get moving on some fundraising.

But the effort in La Crosse has legs now, says Kate Escher, on the pool project steering committee, precisely because of the funding promise from city hall.

“To fundraise when it’s sort of an abstract idea is one thing,” Escher said. “Now, when we go out to fundraise, we can say, look and see how this is actually, you know, in progress.

Late last week, the city council voted to approve $1.79 million next year for the pool project, which will include a needed $500,000 in expected donations.

The first large donation to the project is expected to be announced soon.

Escher says her pitch for donations has a lot to do with inclusion.

“I think it’s a real benefit to have something like this in the heart of the city that can reach out so many people, different neighborhoods, different socioeconomics, different age groups,” Escher said. “It’s just much more tangible and, I think, it’s just going to be a better overall fundraising situation when there’s things going on that people can see.

So far, $1.47 million has already been set aside for the project. A Winona company has been awarded the bid to build the $3.14 million pool next to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus.

Work on the project is set to begin next month.