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City committee calls for delay in La Crosse Center funding plan

Brad Williams

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The mayor of La Crosse doesn’t want his community to bear the entire burden of funding a La Crosse Center expansion.

Mayor Tim Kabat said Thursday, in an ideal world, the civic center would be owned by La Crosse County, instead of just by the city.

Kabat would like some surrounding towns to consider raising their hotel room taxes to generate more tourist revenue, including La Crescent, Holmen and West Salem.

La Crescent and West Salem have room tax rates of 3 percent, compared to 8 percent in La Crosse, which could be increased to help finance the $42 million La Crosse Center remodeling.

People in La Crosse’s tourist industry say a sharp rise in the city’s room tax would hurt hotel and restaurant business.

Pete Boese, general manager of the La Crosse Radisson, says having fewer “heads in beds” at hotels will hurt restaurants and retail businesses downtown.

“Any tax rate higher than 9 percent is going to have a negative effect on our ability to secure the new larger conventions to fill our center,” Boese told the city finance committee.

That panel wants the full council to put off a decision on a La Crosse Center funding plan until June.

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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    Rick Hamilton

    May 3, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Then pave the roads and flood proof the city instead.

    You can always just reapolster the arenas seats and call that good enough.

    Do whats more important

    Also the airport should be county owned also in addition to the center

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