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La Crosse panel ready to move ahead on public market plan



The COVID-19 pandemic put plans for a La Crosse public market on hold for several months.

The city redevelopment authority voted Thursday, however, to endorse plans for an open market at an Xcel Energy lot along the La Crosse River. 

“The riverside festival site including Xcel was by far the preferred site,” project consultant Aaron Zaretsky said. “It was certainly best for the public market, but it was also best for the city right now.”

The other sites seriously considered for the market concept include the former Mobil Oil site near the causeway and the Post Office property.

Zaretsky told the authority that it might cost $15 million to develop the market site but it would bring a big return of perhaps $6 million in tax revenue per year.

The consultant added that a study of La Crosse shows that there’s an undersupply of fresh and prepared foods in the city, which a permanent public market could help meet.

City leaders plan to negotiate with Xcel Energy to acquire the land next to the southside festgrounds.

Zaretsky told authority members that “after COVID is over,” they might want to visit cities like Milwaukee that already have public markets, to see how the concept works.

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 Comment

  1. Kent Porter

    January 29, 2021 at 9:29 am

    $15 million to develop , why would they not use the north side shopko empty building and also collect taxes on the property rather then put the market downtown with no parking available , our city government hard at work again ,

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