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Former fish lab could become wedding reception hall

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Since the La Crosse convention bureau moved out of Riverside Park, the city has been looking at other uses for the former Fish Lab building along the La Crosse River. 

One possible use is a plan for a wedding reception hall and bed-and-breakfast, with some apartments on the 2nd floor. 

The city plan commission has okayed a zoning change for the building to allow for commercial use. 

Park director Jay Odegaard says the project could involve about half-a-million dollars in private investments.

“The city really made a choice that this fish hatchery building was something…that we wanted to keep and maintain, and not only maintain it but maintain it to the historic value that that building is,” said Odegaard.    

Three commissioners voted against the zoning change, including Scott Neumeister, who said “I’m not sure putting an apartment or whatever you want to call it on the top floor of that is the best use of that building.”

Another commission, Elaine Yager, liked the wedding hall idea, but is concerned about competition for the remodeled La Crosse Center.    

The zoning plan now goes to city council committees. 

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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