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La Crosse’s city council may vote to support campground plan for downtown park



The plan to designate Houska Park in La Crosse as a temporary campground could be reaffirmed by the city council this week.

An attempt to reverse the campground status was discussed in committee last week. The council is being advised not to reverse the park board’s decision.

Jay Odegaard, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry director, said on WIZM’s La Crosse Talk that even if indoor shelter is offered, some people will want to live outdoors anyway.

“Largely in part this is, designation is so that we can continue to monitor the rest of our city parks and public property and follow the ordinances that have been laid down,” Odegaard said.

In late November, the city used $700,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to contract with the Econo Lodge Hotel to give homeless people rooms for winter. That agreement ends on April 1.

Odegaard said allowing unsheltered people to stay in Houska during the spring and summer is aimed at preventing them from camping in other locations.

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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  1. R head

    March 8, 2022 at 8:58 am

    It will be good to have a campground in the park now I cane pull my camper there park next to the river for FREE any time I want all I have to say is I am homeless for the weekend thank you. Could you please put some power outlet in.you seem to have a endless amount off money.

  2. Kent Porter

    March 8, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Free campming , Im all for that , how about revamping the Harry J Olsen seinor center that is being closed down , it has a kithchn , Kwik Trip is a hop skip and jump away , the HOMELESS can get job’s and quit the meth and heroin and 8am vodka breakfast’s , I brought this up to Mayor Mitch Reynolds on La Crosse talk PM on Monday , but he said the Olson center is to run down for repair , HEY MITCH , buy the HOMELESS some saw’s , hammers , and wood and have them fix it up , after all they are going to be living there RENT FREE , I bet ya all Mayor Mithch has never been in the Harry J Olson Seinor Center , I have it’s not bad at all , Why pay $700,000 for some CRACK HOTEL , and spend $3000,000 to repairs it when only 50 HOMELESS can stay there , The Houska Park Thing should not happen , Hey Mr Mayor , that is our park that we pay for with OUR TAX MONEY !!!!!! Who are you and the La Crosse Board to give our seinic river park to HOMELESS THAT NEED TO GET’ CLEANED UP , BE PUT INTO A RECOVERY HOSPITALS , GUIT KICKIN THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD , We had 2 HOMELESS get killed last summer , How many will it be this year , ECONO LODGE didn’t work either , $7000,000 for houseing for 4 months and 3 police calls a day for domestic abuse , drugs and alcohol related offences , 130 police calls a month really , how do you think the people living around there like that !!!!!!! I know lets build something for the HOMELESS right next door to MAYOR MITCH’S house and see how he likes that outcome , Vote for THE MAYOR OF THE NORTH SIDE NEXT ELECTION , I will take care of the HOMELESS ISSUE , Thanks , Mayor Kent POrter

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