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Parts of La Crosse north-side fire station plan move ahead, as city waits for historic designation

Brad Williams

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City leaders in La Crosse are moving ahead with planning for a new north-side fire station, while waiting to see if the 80-plus-year-old firehouse is declared a historic building. 

The city plan commission approved proposals Monday to vacate the alley behind Fire Station 4 on Gillette Street and rezone some residential land on the block for public use. 

Fire Chief Ken Gilliam said a historic designation will change plans for the new station.

“So, if it’s designated as historic and the council supports doing something else without a fire station, we’ll change scope and it’ll take a few months of new architectural design,” Gilliam said.

The original plans for a new station depended on the existing firehouse being torn down, which many citizens oppose.

The city council judiciary committee will discuss a referral of the project Tuesday night.

North-side council member Andrea Richmond says demolition of old homes for a new station needs to proceed.

“It’s time to get these buildings taken down,” Richmond said. “I think it’s going to be a serious issue if you aren’t taking ’em down pretty soon.”

The commission called for a 30-day delay for a work permit on the station project until a decision is made on whether to grant the existing firehouse historic status.

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.