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La Crosse Council votes for rental registry, sale of Olson Center



The city of La Crosse could soon start a registry for the community’s rental units. 

City council members have approved the idea, which was proposed last year.  Supporters of a registration program say it could help maintain rental properties in good shape.  Council member Jennifer Trost says citizens are asking for this.

“The registry has come to us from the community, via the neighborhood associations,” she told the council on Thursday night. “I think what we’re offering is a balance of power to support and understand exactly what it’s like to be a renter in this city.”

Groups such as Habitat for Humanity have voiced their support for the rental registry as well. 

Council president Barb Janssen says it’s good to have a registry, but she still encourages people to talk with their neighbors, if they have problems with people renting in their area.

“We always encourage people to talk to their neighbors, and get to know them,” Janssen said. “Typically, that prevents some problems, but if you’re not comfortable with that, then you contact the city.”

Council members debated whether a fee of $10 a unit should be charged to owners, as part of the registry program.

In other council business, after months of public debate about the future of a senior center on La Crosse’s north side, the city has finally approved the sale of the center building to the senior group. 

The Harry J. Olson Center

The vote to sell the Harry J. Olson building to the Olson Center staff for a dollar passed quietly during the council meeting. 

Staffers with the center had raised concerns recently about the amount of control City Hall would have over the use and maintenance of the building.  A pending $50,000 roof repair persuaded city leaders to take quick action this month.

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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