La Crosse homeowners are asking City Hall to do something about homeless people continuing to move into local parks.
At Thursday night’s Park Board meeting, speakers called on members to find places to shelter the people camping at parks, whether that means buying a hotel or finding other housing for them.
Two winters ago, the city spent several thousand dollars to house unsheltered people at a Rose Street motel during the cold weather in the midst of the pandemic.
The winter campground at Houska Park was cleared out in March, forcing some people to leave, and they’ve ended up at Cameron, Burns, and Goose Green parks.
La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry director Jay Odegaard said at the meeting when the downtown warming center closes for the season, the people who have sheltered there often head to the parks.
Homeowners talked about encounters they’ve had with unsheltered people, who are at the parks. They worry about the garbage and drug use they’re seeing on public property.
They told board members they don’t feel safe, and they worry that businesses might leave downtown La Crosse if the homelessness problem gets worse.