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La Crosse could charge for all downtown parking with $850,000 kiosk system



Drivers in La Crosse will have to get used to paying for parking, again.

The city isn’t bringing back the old coin-operated meters, but you could see kiosks on the streets to pay for parking — or use the app.

On WIZM’s La Crosse Talk PM, Mayor Mitch Reynolds said with a request from the business group, Downtown Mainstreet, Inc., the city is moving toward a pay to park throughout downtown.

Reynolds said the deficit for La Crosse’s parking utility was around $1.7 million last year.

La Crosse Talk PM airs weekdays at 5 p.m. on WKTY 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 107.9 FM (north of Onalaska)

The 85 proposed kiosks for paying parking rates are expected to cost the city about $850,000, which Reynolds said could be earned back in a couple of years.

The yearly fee to use the kiosks will be $96,000.

Reynolds said the rates charged in ramps, along with new kiosks on the street, should bring in enough money, so a certain percentage can be spent on improving downtown.

“Fifteen, 10, whatever that percentage winds up being will go back into the district for enhancements for all sorts of things,” such as streetscaping and planting, Reynolds said.

Free daytime parking in La Crosse’s downtown ramps ended two months ago and the city hopes to benefit from the parking fees now being charged on weekdays.

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. walden

    June 12, 2023 at 9:51 pm

    Here we go again. Has the mayor ever had an original idea? The $850,000 will be paid back in how many years?

    How is it possible the parking utility has a $1.7M deficit.

    Inquiring minds (including taxpayers) want to know. What’s left of the downtown merchants should be furious.

    • Doug

      June 13, 2023 at 1:50 pm

      First question: NO
      Second question: “a couple years”
      Third question which was wrongly punctuated as statement: $1.7 million dollar deficit = no parking revenue during the 2 years of Covid but still paying for services, equipment, maintenance + over $500,000 in repairs services caused by the homeless population over the last few years.

      • walden

        June 14, 2023 at 7:25 pm

        In the WIZM interview of mayor, it was said the equipment costs $850,000. Then there is a $100,000 annual fee for the software to operate the equipment. Then 15 or 20% of the parking fees goes to downtown beautification (which I take the liberty of interpreting as clean up after the homeless), and THEN the $1.7 million annual loss to operate the parking ramps will be paid off. If you believe those numbers and that the equipment will be paid for in two years, well good luck to you. Its gonna be great entertainment to watch all of this unfold but unfortunately the taxpayer gets stuck holding the bag again.

        Note, when the council installed the parking equipment in the ramps the payback for the $500,000 equipment cost was something like 40 years (beyond the life of the equipment). That was right after they tore out the previous parking meters. Unbounded wisdom.

    • Tammy Isensee

      June 17, 2023 at 10:05 pm

      We are furious. You should try to get your hands on the parking utilitys budget. I hear they don’t want anyone seeing it.

  2. C-low

    June 13, 2023 at 10:12 am

    Seems like poor budgeting will penalize struggling small business…but first we need to spend $850k. Smart

  3. Cassie Hembrook

    June 13, 2023 at 11:51 am

    I don’t think it will be fair on those that work downtown. As a bartender, I don’t feel comfortable walking home by myself at 3am because I didn’t want to pay for parking. There should be some sort of FREE parking pass system for dt workers.

    • Doug

      June 14, 2023 at 7:25 pm

      Cassie…there are reduced parking passes for people who work downtown and experience difficulties paying for the regular priced parking passes. They are Class E permits.

    • walden

      June 14, 2023 at 7:30 pm

      Agreed, but the City’s social agenda seems to regard those individuals that work, and especially commuters, with some scorn. Welcome to socialism.

      But thank you for being willing to work and pay taxes.

  4. Gary

    June 14, 2023 at 12:15 am

    I don’t get it they want to make downtown like it use to be and have people shop downtown again like the old days well if they want to do that that would be great but if your gonna charge people to park that won’t do nothing than push people away who thinks this stuff up what are they brain dead we need a diffrent mayor someone that knows what’s he’s doing this mayor he acts before he thinks

  5. Jesse

    June 14, 2023 at 7:20 am

    Pay to park or live in the park for free.

    • Tim

      June 15, 2023 at 10:55 am

      You win… good one.
      Take that Mitch. 2 face…

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