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Process begins to replace Hiawatha statue

Brad Williams

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Nearly two weeks after the Hiawatha statue was taken out of Riverside Park, La Crosse city leaders are working on plans for what might be put in its place. 

One obstacle that could complicate the process is the site’s closeness to the Mississippi and La Crosse Rivers, because the statue was in a floodplain.     

City park director Jay Odegaard tells the park board that alternate locations for a new work of art could be chosen. 

The board will take up to six months to work on a process for approving new artworks for the riverfront.          

Hiawatha, which had stood since 1961, was taken down just last week, after years of complaints that it inaccurately portrayed native tribes in the region. 

Odegaard points out that there are more legal and environmental hurdles to installing artworks now than there were when Hiawatha went up.     

The report is expected to be brought to the park board by February.  

       

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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