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Friendship gardens on riverfront could expand soon; June festival to be centered at gardens

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La Crosse’s International Friendship Gardens could be expanded again soon.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department heard plans for adding new garden areas to honor a proposed sister city in Luxembourg, and to recognize the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Sister city organizer Chuck Hanson said the gardens at the north end of Riverside Park have been a popular attraction for almost 20 years, since they were founded in 2004.

“Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have been involved,” Hanson said, “and much of what you see in the gardens are there because of private individuals and businesses and foundations who have contributed money to make it a reality here in La Crosse.”

Hanson added that the land where the Hiawatha statue used to stand along the riverfront probably will become part of the Ho-Chunk garden.

A new La Crosse festival starting this summer will be based at the Friendship Gardens.

The sister cities organization is sponsoring a Riverside Gardens Expo on June 18.

Storytellers and artists will be located in the gardens dedicated to sister cities in France, China, Ireland, and other countries.

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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