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WIZM 2019 TOP STORIES: No. 3, La Crosse Center renovation begins

Brad Williams



After six years of discussion and planning, a big makeover of the La Crosse Center finally started toward the end of 2019. 

The $42 million renovation ranks as our newsroom’s #3 local story of the year. 

In fact, during its first meeting of the new year, the La Crosse city council approved a smaller design for a west-side center addition. 

The design had to be changed when people objected to one proposal that would have extended the center well into Riverside Park. 

Center board president Brent Smith said that emphasizing the building’s location near the river was still an important goal.    

Later in the year, one meeting promoter from Minnesota wanted assurances that construction would not disrupt the company’s yearly boat and outdoor show in the La Crosse Center.         

Replacement of the original North Hall, and construction of a second ballroom and a grand entrance along 2nd Street are key elements of the expansion project.

During the summer, Onalaska and La Crosse County raised objections to being asked to help pay for the center renovations, saying they had been left out of the center planning until La Crosse wanted money from them.

Groundbreaking occurred on December 13th, and the expansion is scheduled to be finished by December of 2021.        

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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