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Fire chief makes northside, UWL stations current priorities

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La Crosse’s fire chief would like to get construction work done on as many stations as possible, but costs are rising and money is tight.   

“If you can find another 10 million dollars or 20 million dollars, I can get all the stations done next year, I assure you that,” Chief Ken Gilliam told the city plan commission on Monday.

Gilliam said that he’s hoping to move ahead with construction of a new Gillette Street firehouse and a UWL station in the next couple of years, but the price of construction materials has been “volatile,” and he’s waiting to see how high the bids are on the proposed new stations.     

Some residents of north La Crosse, including city council member Andrea Richmond, are getting impatient for work to begin on a new fire station for the neighborhood. 

“Why can’t we go forward with getting the cost to build Station 4, or do we need to wait to see what’s gonna happen to the building, or can we just go forward?” said Richmond.

Gilliam says that if La Crosse continues to have only 4 fire stations instead of going to 5, some relocations may be needed:    

The chief says a 5th fire station on Mormon Coulee Road is still on the drawing board.  Meanwhile, he says the fire department needs more office space than it has now.           

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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