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Private management for the La Crosse Center will get some study

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The idea of bringing in private management to run the La Crosse Center is something the Center’s current managers want a voice in deciding.

The Center Board has been discussing the idea proposed recently by Mayor Mitch Reynolds to have the newly expanded building run by a private firm — similar to how the Forest Hills Golf Club is managed.

The mayor was not available to explain the plan at the board’s meeting Monday, but Center Board chair Brent Smith said the idea is still in the talking stage.

“(Reynolds) has always said to me, the two or three times I’ve talked about it, this is a possibility, for lack of a better term, investigation,” Smith said during the public meeting Monday. “This is looking at it, as opposed to something that’s a done deal.”

Reasons for moving to private management include the changes made in the $42 million expansion and the planned retirement of long-time Center Director Art Fahey, who says there are clear options to consider.

“There’s a privatization process, there’s moving forward with the people that we’ve got, there’s a national search,” Fahey told the board. “All those, you know, seem to be the one-two-threes on this thing.”

Smith added that there wouldn’t be any ideas for the board to vote on for a few months yet.

Monday, the board re-elected Smith as chair for another year, with attorney Phil Addis named vice chair.

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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