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La Crosse Center adopts plan to hire consultant to study private management of building

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The idea of bringing in private management to operate the La Crosse Center takes another step forward. 

The center’s board of directors has voted to enlist a Minneapolis consulting firm, Conventions Sports and Leisure, to look into the plan, similar to how civic centers in Rochester, Rockford, and Sioux City are run. 

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds has proposed the private management option, and points out that it’s still just an idea.

“I’m not advocating that we sign a contractor tomorrow,” says the mayor, but he says the city must act on the opportunity to find new management, since Center manager Art Fahey’s has announced he plans to retire soon, after more than 20 years running the building.  

If the city council approves, La Crosse could spend up to $25,000 on a study to be done by CSL. 

Fahey says his staff has contacted five other civic centers in the region to see how they’re being run, and most are under contracted management.

“So the four that obviously are in it have been in it for a number of years, and they seem to be satisfied with the situation,” says Fahey. “Mankato, in their situation, said that we’re running it fine, there was no problems.”    

The city of La Crosse still plans to own the Center, even if a private firm is brought in to run the day-to-day business matters, much in the same way that the Forest Hills Golf Course is operated.

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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