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As I See It

City Hall should move faster to approve outdoor dining permits



It may be time to pick up the pace at City Hall. The city of La Crosse started offering outside dining during the height of the pandemic. It was a lifeline to a number of restaurants who were struggling to stay open. It was welcomed by diners, many of whom felt more comfortable with the social distancing it offered. Plus it was a unique experience and provided more ambiance to downtown. Wisely, the city expedited the process for getting the necessary permits to help to make the process easier and quicker. But it seems the red tape is back. Back in May the city changed the rules for outdoor dining permits in an effort to make them permanent, and added a few hoops to jump through. As a result, it is taking months for some restaurants to get the necessary permits, and some are still waiting. It shouldn’t be this difficult or take this long. It is almost July, and some downtown restaurants applied almost two months ago. At this rate the weather will turn cold before all the necessary permits will be issued. There should be more urgency to letting people dine outside. The pandemic may not be hitting as hard today, but restaurants are still struggling due to inflation and other issues. City Hall should make it a priority to approve permits for those restaurants which meet the city’s requirements, before it is too late.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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