The recent decision by the La Crosse city council to buy the Maple Grove Motel to shelter the homeless has inspired a petition drive against the purchase.
A website called LaCrosseHomeless.com is collecting signatures, with a message saying, “We need your help by March 10th.” That’s when the city council has its monthly meeting for March.
The purchase of the motel on Mormon Coulee Road for $1.5 million was approved at a special council meeting on Feb. 22. As of Wednesday morning, the petition drive reportedly had gathered close to 200 signatures. Currently, there is no item on the city council agenda for Thursday night dealing with the motel purchase.
The website argues that the city plan would kick out people who are already living at Maple Grove, and would only provide enough room for about one-fourth of the people in La Crosse identified as unsheltered.
The petition is sponsored by Citizens for Sensible Homelessness Solutions, which argues online that buying the Maple Grove Motel is a “rushed solution” that might also involve a conflict of interest for some city employees.
As of Wednesday morning, the website said it had gathered almost 200 signatures to present to the city council.
The council voted unanimously last month to purchase the motel, which could be renovated for temporary housing.
Roughly 100 unsheltered people have been living at the north-side Econo Lodge during the winter. That deal with the hotel ends April 1.
The city had planned on buying the Chamber of Commerce building downtown. A private buyer, however, came in and purchased the property for $2.1 million in cash.