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Park and Rec. officials encourage more spending on senior programs in La Crosse



The population of La Crosse hasn’t grown much in recent years. In fact, the 2020 census says the number of people living in La Crosse went down about 2 per cent in the last decade.

But the city’s population is growing older, according to those same studies.

According to a 2014 population estimate, “La Crosse County had a 20 percent increase from 2010 in people over the age of 65,” Parks and Rec. department staffer Kerry Gloede said. “With a growing population of people over this age, the need for programs to keep seniors active and healthy has also increased.”

Gloede told the La Crosse City Council on Thursday night that local programs designed for seniors have increased sharply in 10 years.

The council is being asked to put more money into senior activities and to modernize community centers for older residents.

Park and Rec. director Jay Odegaard pointed to a new community center on St. Andrew Street as one element in the expansion of services for seniors.

“I don’t think it’s such a bad thing that right now, we’re in a position of having a tentative location that works for the time being,” Odegaard said, “but also allows us the opportunity to expand down the road in another location that might be more of that long-term solution.”

Odegaard noted that the former South Side Senior Center on Denton Street closed a few years ago and the Harry J. Olson Center on the north side has been in existence for decades.

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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