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“Nothing against veterans but … ” no decision yet on south side transitional home



Nothing against the veterans, they said.

Families in one La Crosse neighborhood, however, spoke out about having a transitional home for veterans nearby.

The plan to open a transitional home for veterans on La Crosse’s south side could be delayed for 30 days.

That was the recommendation Monday night by the city plan commission after a three-hour hearing. The commission wants more information from the VA and neighbors of Dave and Barb Erickson’s donated home about the project.

Sixty days ago, a city council committee agreed to wait 60 days before voting on converting the seven-bedroom home into a transitional residence for up to eight veterans.

Neighbors, who spoke at a commission hearing, said they’re not against veterans, but …

Those buts included bringing property values down or the unknowns about the plans or their privacy or even parking in the neighborhood.

“Once something’s put in like this, really it does feel like there’s not a lot of control, there’s not necessarily a lot of recourse,” Leslie Patterson, one of the neighbors, said. “And that’s not to say that the VA will do a poor job.”

Some neighbors claimed they are getting abuse on social media for opposing the proposal.

Another opponent of the home, Mark Shaw, said it’s a case of City Hall forcing an unwanted change in a residential area.

“Now you can find your means of arguing with what I’m saying, but you’re talking about people who thought they were making a purchase in good faith of a piece of property that could be a home for their family, and now that choice is being taken from that and that just infuriates me,” Shaw said.

The city council’s judiciary committee discusses the plan Tuesday night.

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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  1. Joan Koelbl

    December 4, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Can’t believe the selfishness of these people. Did they ever have a vet in their family. Please vote to allow this to pass

  2. Sarah

    December 7, 2018 at 4:32 am

    These home owners have a right to be apprehensive about a transitional program moving into their neighborhood. Most of them are young families or retirees that have great concern about their first or perhaps last large investment…their home. A group home of any kind can greatly affect property value. Take the word veteran out of the equation and substitute “transitional housing” and then go read the outline for the program. The outline clearly states the home will serve as transitional housing for people with severe anger issues and substance abuse problems. These neighbors are not bad people, they are concerned citizens. Many have young children that deserve to grow up in a peaceful and safe environment. If the goal is to help hundreds of people over time by providing them housing, that also means hundreds of different “neighbors” moving in and out constantly. Instead of judging and vilifying these home owners, try and understand their point of view. Those who have nothing to lose always seem to speak the loudest.

  3. Richard Kildow

    December 24, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    It’s interesting that some La Crosse residents assume that “veterans” are generally bad people, not capable of being good neighbors.

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