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City crews shovel garbage out of Houska Park, after deadline for campers to leave



The tents are gone from Houska Park.  So is much of the grass and the soil, after city crews plowed trash out onto the street on Wednesday, the day when winter campers were told to vacate the riverfront park. 

Most of Houska Drive along the west side of the park has been closed to traffic, while the cleanup is in progress. 

The road past Houska Park is closed to traffic while the park is cleaned up. (Photo: Brad Williams)

Camping continued through the winter months, even though the city had hoped to get people to leave Houska last October.  Restoring the soil and the greenery is expected to take some time. 

Heavy equipment was used to move garbage out of the park on Wednesday, with junk left on the street running past the park entrance. 

FILE – Tents cover Houska Park in late 2021, just before the city of La Crosse moved the homeless population out of Houska Park and into the Econo Lodge for winter, (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

City leaders chose March 15th as the day that campers had to leave Houska, and the people who stayed there were given a one-month notice to vacate the land. Camping was allowed this winter, compared to a year ago, when unsheltered people were moved to a La Crosse hotel for the winter months.

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 16, 2023 at 5:46 am

    What a waste of tax money

    • John Q Public

      March 16, 2023 at 7:22 am

      The clean up should have been done by the people who made the mess. Again our mayor the great enabler.

  2. Richard Lepsch

    March 16, 2023 at 7:25 am

    The people who made the mess should have been made to clean up the mess. Again our mayor the great enabler.

    • Kent Porter

      March 16, 2023 at 2:11 pm

      No respect Mayor Mitch hasn’t done a good job. You should of seen what they did to that Motel the Mayor paid a million dollars of our tax money to store the homeless in including the 125 police calls EVERY MONTH FOR DRUGS. SEX TRAFFICKING. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND DRUG SALES. YEA GREAT JOB MR MAYOR. WRITE IN KENT PORTER FOR MAYOR. I WIL FIRE THE HOMELESS ZAR END HOMELESSNESS AND DONATE 50%OF MY PAY TO THE OLSON. SENIOR CENTER AND VETERANS

  3. Dexter

    March 16, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    Good thing the homeless is gonna pay for the clean up

  4. Sandra

    March 16, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    I would like transparency on what the total cost to the LaCrosse taxpayers is. I am talking about the tents, portapotty rental, the 20 generators and police security to name a few. Combined with the clean up amount. What is the total cost? And why is the person who approved the permit not held accountable for the debt?

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