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Deadline for moving out of Houska Park arrives, to be followed by cleanup



City Hall is preparing to close La Crosse’s Houska Park at the end of the day on Wednesday, concluding several months of homeless people occupying the riverfront land in tents and other temporary shelters. 

Houska has to be thoroughly cleaned, the grounds have to be repaired, and grass will be re-planted. 

“A lot of those folks have been overnighting in Catholic Charities throughout the winter, a lot of them have gone to Salvation Army and have cycled out of Salvation Army into more permanent housing,” La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds tells WIZM’s La Crosse Talk PM. “Some have left the area.”

Dozens of people have stayed in tents and other forms of shelter over the winter, in contrast to last winter, when the campers at Houska were lodged in local hotels.

On February 15th, the city of La Crosse gave homeless people at Houska Park a one-month notice to leave the grounds.  A number of tents and other personal belongings remain in Houska. 

The mayor says there are different options for what might happen to Houska.

“Can be a nice park,” says Reynolds. “We’ve had some ideas about turning that into an actual campground…I think that it has some great amenities that would support that.”

The mayor says that if city workers have to remove items from Houska, that property will be held in storage for 90 days for people to claim what’s theirs.   

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. Kent

    March 15, 2023 at 6:44 am

    Houska was a great park until the Mayor housed homeless there just like they trashed the motel on rose st

    • Diana Gaines

      March 15, 2023 at 5:25 pm

      I agree, they are disrespectful of property. Lazy, and choose to not work also.

  2. Rhead

    March 15, 2023 at 8:39 am

    They should take Evers to the park an show he what liberal politicians at work. Maybe he could tent out over nite. Evers could shit in the park instead of shitting on the people of Wisconsin

    • Diana Gaines

      March 15, 2023 at 5:27 pm

      And WHY is there ALWAYS A REPUBLICAN, that has to make this article about politics?

    • Ronda Hayter

      March 17, 2023 at 2:20 pm

      This should not be an absolute surprise to anyone. They destroy anything they are given. Absolutely a waste of money.

  3. Kevin

    March 17, 2023 at 10:43 am

    Remember though, it won’t cost the taxpayers anything to repair and update the park! It’s all federal money that will be used to ‘recycle’ the park. I didn’t have a better plan for the homeless, but I am pissed off that city worker labor has to be used to clean up this park! Why weren’t the inhabitants of this park held to a standard of accountability! We keep excusing poor behavior and reinforcing it by ‘never’ holding people accountable for their actions, then making others, city workers, city inhabitants etc have to pay for remedial work. Will our mayor be held accountable for ‘literally’ the crap that has to be cleaned up in this park? Send the major and the entire administration down their with rakes and shovels until it is all cleaned up so that the next time they have an idea like this they at least set some rules of behavior, decorum, cleanliness etc…..

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