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Fish lab project in Riverside Park heads to La Crosse’s city council for zoning vote



Putting businesses such as a bed-and-breakfast in La Crosse’s old fish lab would be a benefit to the community. 

That’s what developer Marty Walleser told the city council judiciary committee this week, before the committee approved a zoning change. 

Walleser says current zoning would not allow him to run a commercial business on the building’s second floor.

“The upstairs currently can only hold government, or government-like offices with the current zoning,” said Walleser. “No government offices can be held up there due to a lack of ADA compliance, and nor could they be made ADA compliant due to the elevator restrictions.”

Walleser says he doesn’t think putting offices on that floor would benefit many people.   

Opponents worry that an Airbnb or a beer garden would bring too much noise and traffic to Riverside Park. 

“It breaks my heart, it’s gonna be a mess down there,” said Lynn Miller, among the opponents speaking at the judiciary committee meeting Tuesday night.  “The parking, trucks coming in to deliver beer, trucks coming in to deliver food, wedding parties…no, no way should we be doing this.”

Miller and others think the city is trying to rush the project along without public input, but the park department says there have been several public hearings about the plans to put a beer garden or a bed-and-breakfast at the former fish hatchery.                

The committee sent the zoning proposal to the full council for a vote on October 14th.   


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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