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La Crosse neighborhood center was busy as emergency shelter during cold holidays



La Crosse city committees met at the southside community center for several months, while City Hall was being remodeled in 2021 and 2022

The last time the temperature dropped below zero in La Crosse was on Christmas Day.

That was the last day of an eight-day streak in the city with sub-zero lows, which forced City Hall to take emergency measures to offer people shelter.

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds says opening the southside neighborhood center as a shelter over the holiday was a life-saving measure.

“If you recall the brutality of the weather during that time, I don’t think we had a choice,” the mayor told city council members last week.

Reynolds added that it’s likely that city-owned buildings will have to be used again in future weather emergencies.

La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry director Jay Odegaard said that for the four days that the community center was used as a shelter (Dec. 22-25) they averaged 25-26 visitors per night, with a full capacity of 30 people staying there Christmas night.

Also, 80 meals were served to visitors there on Christmas Day.

The mercury dropped below zero for the first time this winter on Dec. 18, when the low was -2.

The lowest temp reported in La Crosse this season has been -11 — Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.

Temperatures have been above zero every day since Dec. 27 and have been above normal for most of January, so far.

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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  1. Carol

    January 16, 2023 at 8:21 am

    Thanks Mr reynolds. For charging the tax payers $30.000.00.
    If you would be working for all the tax payers, you would not enable these homeless people!!?
    You are just an idiotic liberal with a degree and no common sense!!
    One other comment. We had a coulee region humane society. Where are they now. You hire a person
    Incapable and not trained, for 78k a year,to do nothing, to pick these animals up. Are you going to
    Kill them? is this person a friend or relative???
    We are pet owners, not killers???? The people that let there pets roam around, I hope they don’t
    Have kids that grow uP like weeds…

  2. Kent Porter

    January 16, 2023 at 11:04 am

    The Southside center is a perfect place for the HOMELESS during cold weather , why ship them all the way to the Northside that’s kinds cruel , making them walk all the way to the Northside when it is bitterly cold outside , How about we get the homeless help , get them off of drugs and alcohol and help them find jobs whether they want or or not , all those that don’t want help can be arrested for drug possesion and consuming alcohol in a public place , then they can get help , This Mayor and his (HOMELESS CORRDINATOR) need to stand up for our community and solve this ONGOING PROBLEM that they have spent MILLIONS of dollars all to no avail !!! Lets reamagine HOMELESSNESS and Vote in a new Mayor to get – er – done , wirte in Kent Porter For Mayor , I will donate half my Mayor pay to SENIORS AND VETERANS ( THE FOLKS THAT EARNED OUR HELP ) Thanks , Kent Porter Mayor of the NORTHSIDE

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