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As I See It

Proceed carefully when considering privately run La Crosse Center

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The City of La Crosse doesn’t always get it right. But one thing it has gotten right for many years is the administration of the La Crosse Center. The newly renovated convention center is becoming the crown jewel of downtown, attracting tens of thousands of people to events there each year. With more space for more events, that number is expected to grow. The La Crosse Center is profitable and has been for a number of years. It is estimated the Center is responsible for about $40 million in economic impact to the La Crosse area, and generates upward of $200,000 a year in sales taxes. In short, things are working fine there. It is curious then that Mayor Mitch Reynolds is talking of handing the running of the Center over to a private company. He says it would be similar to how the Forest Hills golf course is run. The city owns it and hires a private firm to operate it. That make sense, because the city had no track record of trying to run a golf course. That isn’t the case with the Center, which has had decades of stable leadership and a board of directors that includes representatives from the city and now the county as well. It seems the Center is well run and performing well. With the recent investment in the building and a good track record, it seems misguided for the city to wash its hands of the day-to-day operations of the Center.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ronald Walker

    February 16, 2022 at 10:14 am

    I can’t believe I agree with Scott.
    If the city is making a profit on the Lax Center, why would you pay someone else to run it?
    Show me the numbers that say if the city spends money on a private company, the company will bring in more business to the center to not only pay for what they are charging the city but increase the profit margin that currently exists.

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