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La Crosse committee approves plan for more brewery parking

Brad Williams

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Losing houses to put in parking lots is not a popular idea among many people in La Crosse, including some city council members.  But the City Brewery says it needs parking for an expanding workforce, and a city committee supports tearing down some old homes to free up parking space. 

The council’s judiciary committee voted on Tuesday to rezone lots near the brewery, which will lead to the demolition of six houses.

Chris Kahlow is among members of the council who’s against demolishing the houses, in a neighborhood where there have been drug and crime problems.

“What we really need to do in these neighborhoods where those housing costs are low is we need to make sure that those houses are maintained and the people that live there have decent, safe housing,” said Kahlow.    

City Brewery utilities manager Bob Kegebein (KEG-uh-bine) told the committee that employee bus rides or shuttle service from other parking areas did not seem practical.

“This is the simplest and the best solution we can come up with,” said Kegebein. “It’s the reason we proceeded to buy the properties for this.”

Kegebein says the brewery’s production is growing, and he expects the company’s workforce to grow 30 to 40 per cent this year.  

It’s possible the old Walt’s restaurant space on 3rd Street also could be removed to allow more parking.   

In other action, the committee approved a plan for new storage units to be placed on Copeland Avenue, north of the railroad tracks. Supporters say having storage buildings there would prevent the property from becoming an eyesore.

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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