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Fish lab lease approved by council commitee

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The plans for a party venue and an Air BNB at the former fish lab in Riverside Park are moving ahead. 

The La Crosse finance committee approved a proposed lease for the building on Thursday, sending it to the full city council for a vote next week. 

Park director Jay Odegaard admits that city staffers weren’t necessarily thinking of a B-and-B as the ideal use for the building.

“However, we understand that that created the financial sustainability that came along with the reservable space and the ability to offer food and beverage to parkgoers,” said Odegaard.

Under the suggested lease, developers from the Hatchery group would pay more than a million dollars in rent over 20 years, starting at $2200 a month.    Eventually, that would increase to $7000 per month.

A zoning change to allow the party venue project was hotly debated for a few months, with neighbors of the park arguing that allowing events at the fish lab would lead to public drunkenness and noisy gatherings.

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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