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Compromise on North Hall size could keep Center expansion under $42 million budget



La Crosse city leaders had to find a way to increase spending on the La Crosse Center expansion without going above a $42 million budget limit.

They seem to have found a solution, passed by the council finance committee Thursday night.

Some energy-related spending, around $1 million, will be removed from the Center project budget, freeing up extra money to renovate the North Hall without reducing its size.

Mayor Tim Kabat said the revised plan also avoids problems, which led to a veto of a previous Center design last year. That design included building into Riverside Park.

Shamrock Productions, the producers of a boat show put on yearly at the Center, warned that meeting planners might stop using the building if North Hall is eliminated or made smaller than its current size of 15,000 square feet.

A reduction of North Hall was planned as a way to keep the project from exceeding the limit set last July.

The new plan goes to the full council for a vote next week.

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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