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La Crosse city council could weigh in on Lincoln School’s landmark status



Within the next month, the city council in La Crosse may be asked to reverse a historic designation for Lincoln Middle School.

The century-old building was declared a landmark last week by a city’s Heritage Preservation Commission, leading the La Crosse School Board to vote in favor of appealing that status so the school can be sold.

Laura Godden, on the commission, discussed Wednesday on La Crosse Talk PM, how the appeal process would work.

“If (school officials) disagree with our decision, they can go before the city council,” she said, “and the city council can override us.”

La Crosse Talk PM airs weekdays at 5:06 p.m. Listen on the WIZM app, online here, or on 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 106.7 FM (north of Onalaska). Find all the podcasts here or subscribe to La Crosse Talk PM wherever you get your podcasts.

Godden is not predicting how the council would rule, but she did argue that landmark status could make the Lincoln even more appealing to potential buyers.

“If it is going to be nominated, I think it’d probably be better for a buyer to know going in,” Godden said. “This is actually a good opportunity for a buyer, and actually it’s an asset that the (Washburn) neighborhood association did all this work” to research the history of the building.

Last week, La Crosse Schools superintendent, Dr. Aaron Engel, said the commission giving landmark status to Lincoln, just as the building is up for sale was “a deep injustice.”

Godden also reminded listeners that the building was nominated by the Washburn Neighborhood Association for landmark status and that nomination, basically, checked all the boxes for it to be granted by the commission.

“They made great points,” Godden said of the nomination application, “and it met the criteria and so, as commissioners, when it comes to that sort of thing — they fill out the paperwork and if it meets the criteria set forth — it’s not even really up to our personal feelings at that point. They did everything that needed to be done.”

The original part of Lincoln, built in the 1920s, is the only portion which is considered a landmark.

The designation does not apply to a cafeteria and other additions which have been made to Lincoln in recent years.

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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