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Work on Fire Station 2 will start before Gillette Street site

Brad Williams

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Fire station 2 will come first. 

The La Crosse city council has voted to shift the priority for new fire stations, to start work on a new Station 2 along La Crosse Street first, before building a new Gillette Street station. 

Council president Martin Gaul says it would be a bad move to start work on the Gillette project before it’s decided whether the existing Station 4 will get historic preservation.  

“When you combine that with the fact that we have got four fire stations that, for lack of a better term, all suck, we have options available to us that we need to exercise,” said Gaul.  

The council voted 8 to 4 on Thursday night to start work on the La Crosse Street station plan, which would replace the existing Monitor Street firehouse.            

North side council member Scott Neumeister loves the old station, but says the building’s time has passed.

“That thing is shot,” said Neumeister. “Whether we like it or not, people, that thing is shot and it’s gonna cost a lot of money to repair.”    

Fire Chief Ken Gilliam says it may take 3 months at least before construction can start on either site.    

In other business, the council voted 10 to 2 for a zoning change on the former Gerrard Realty offices at 5th and Division.

A developer wants to replace the building with an apartment complex. Despite opposition from neighbors who say the area does not need more apartments, council members say more middle-income housing is needed for people who work downtown.

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.