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La Crosse council offers building to senior center for $1; supporters to discuss whether to accept conditions



Erin Goggin and Terry Collins (both seated) discuss city council action on a proposed sale of the Harry J. Olson Center on Jan. 12, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

The city of La Crosse is again offering to sell the Harry J. Olson building to the staff of the senior center.

Supporters of the organization, however, are not happy with the decision.

At the monthly city council meeting, it approved an offer made last May to sell the North Street building to the senior center management for $1.

Under that agreement, the city would not be responsible for maintenance of the building, which needs roof repairs and other types of upkeep. No changes in the use of the building could be made in the next 15 years, without city council approval.

The center’s attorney, Terry Collins, said what the council did isn’t entirely clear.

“What I think happened is, they said, ‘Take our offer that we made back on May 5th, or not, but there’s not gonna be any more offers from us, we’re gonna stop negotiating,'” Collins said.

Collins added that if the center needed to borrow money from a bank to make repairs, he believes the city would have to approve of the borrowing and suggested that if that happened, it could take months.

Council members met in closed session in a conference room with legal counsel for about an hour, while backers of the center waited in the council chambers.

Collins said the Harry J Olson Senior Center members plan to meet Wednesday morning to discuss their next move.

The group has been operating in the building without a lease. That expired back in 2020.

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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