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Purchase of Chamber building for La Crosse city-county homeless project is off the table

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A plan for city and county officials to buy the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce building for a project to fight homelessness goes back to the drawing board.

County Board chair Monica Kruse and La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds confirmed Wednesday that another buyer has made a deal to purchase the Chamber office building and parking lot, near La Crosse City Hall.

In early December, the county and city announced a plan to jointly develop temporary units for the homeless, to help them work their way toward affordable housing.

“We don’t have a design on what exact parameters of that property, in terms of location or size or any of that,” Reynolds said of a new location. “We have some rough ideas about what we would like to see for the city and county to help address homelessness in our community.”

The goal of the project is to build “bridge housing,” a complex that could be used by unsheltered residents until they can afford something on their own.

“The beauty there was that there was a lot of real estate included that we could have used to put up a structure,” Kruse said. “So, no, we do not have a building in mind right now. We are looking.”

The bridge housing would have been built in the Chamber parking lot.

The county and city want an alternative to the current practice of moving homeless residents into hotel rooms for the winter — where $700,000 of American Rescue Plan Act from the federal government was used this year — and then having those people be without shelter other times of the year.

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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