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La Crosse Center’s impact on county economy is described to county board

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The newly expanded La Crosse Center brings about $40 million in tourism-related dollars to the county every year.

Center and tourism officials gave that report to the La Crosse County Board on Monday, showing that the convention facility benefits more than just the city of La Crosse.

Center director Art Fahey said the building brings in more than $200,000 in county sales taxes a year.

“When they drilled down on it, (analysts) said that the economic impact or direct sales tax revenue to the county would range somewhere between ($205,000) and up to $248,000 a year,” Fahey said.

Some county leaders have sought input on civic center activities for years. Supervisor Ralph Geary is pleased that the county now has an official seat on the La Crosse Center Board.

“That slowly worked its way through the city council,” Geary said. “I think the county’s position is, if we’re gonna donate money on an annual basis, we want representation. And we got that.”

Randy Erickson is now the designated county board member on the Center’s Board of Directors.

La Crosse County routinely places in the Top 10 Wisconsin counties for tourism revenue.

Officials with the county are looking at ways to have more input into the operation of the civic center.

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds told the board that the Center is working on plans to transfer building management to a private company, similar to how the Forest Hills golf course is run.

Reynolds says the Center would still be owned by the city of La Crosse.

Next week, the Center will host one of its biggest attractions, the MOSES Organic Farming Conference from Feb. 24-26.

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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