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La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds regarding clean-up efforts on river



This week, City of La Crosse staff engaged in an extensive cleaning effort in several areas of public land along the Black River shoreline. These areas had been utilized as locations for long-term overnight camping, an activity that is generally not permitted within the city on public lands.


Several reasons necessitated this clean-up action.

Among those were the accumulation of significant amounts of refuse — including potentially hazardous waste — creating an environmental hazard, imminent spring flooding threats, other public health and safety hazards that have been previously associated with long-term encampments, and recent enforcement actions taken by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources against the City of La Crosse related to other encampment areas.

To partially ease the challenges of the transition for individuals impacted, Neighborhood Resource Officers (NROs) with the La Crosse Police Department began posting “Notice to Vacate” information on Feb. 16. Notices were posted every week since.

NROs, other city staff and local agencies, who assist the unhoused, worked with the individuals living in these spaces to find other places to go and connect with needed services. That work continues daily.

Individuals were invited to take advantage of city-provided opportunities to store their belongings, but as of reports Friday, none accepted that offer.

Roughly 130 tons of abandoned items were removed from the sites over two days (last) week. The total of collected refuse and abandoned belongings from the same sites have totaled more than 180 tons since the beginning of the year.

Due to the lack of shelter space and a multitude of other challenges related to chronic homelessness in our community, individuals who camp in various areas of the city have few other viable options and so will likely continue to find places to try and exist outdoors.

It will remain city government practice to prioritize health and public safety for this population of individuals and the rest of the community while coordinating with La Crosse County government on the long-term Pathways Home plan to reach a state of functional zero in homelessness as rapidly as possible.

The cleaning and removal processes undertaken this week by city staff are not actions that were anticipated nor provided for in Pathways Home.

This was sent out via the city of La Crosse’s news mailer.

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  1. Kevin

    March 25, 2024 at 8:42 am

    They need to send folks through that area with metal detectors and sweep for needles and other sharps that folks could possibly step on.

    Glad to see someone is finally cleaning that area up, hopefully they are are taking great care of themselves while removing the refuse.

  2. Roy

    March 25, 2024 at 9:17 am

    Mayor Reynolds, faced with citizen outrage, has come around to a position on homelessness that even he would not have recognized when he ran for office.
    2 years ago, Reynolds was inviting homeless people to Houska Park and the Econolodge. Now he’s evicting them from a similar area next to Riverside Park no doubt because that area abuts the new development on the Causeway. Watching vagrants defecate from the window of your new condo is not a selling point. The vagrants leave behind 180 tons of garbage since the first of the year.

    Congratulations citizens. You have shown the Mayor and the rest of the liberals at City Hall and the County Courthouse how to really fix this problem. Keep the heat on.

  3. R head

    March 25, 2024 at 9:32 am

    The homeless will be back there and will have to be cleaned up again and again Run them out of town dumb ass. La crosse should not be a sanctuary city wake up.

  4. Jack

    March 25, 2024 at 12:03 pm

    There definitely needs to be transparency on the dollar amount involved with sheltering the so-called homeless. There needs to be a plan using a “THUNDERING VELVET GLOVE” to fix the problem and not caving to the Wobbly Ones whining on local social media about the vagabonds’ treatment on Public and/or Private Land! Otherwise, it will be difficult enough taking care of La Crosse citizens and their issues. The YUGE federal government spending and regulations have caused that Monetary Phenomenon known as inflation while Illegal Aliens have been shoved in to take jobs from Americans Citizens. La Crosse needs to be resilient against PUSHY OUTSIDERS!

  5. Jack

    March 25, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    La Crosse needs to get a handle on this problem and wrest control from Wobbly Reynolds!

  6. Bob N.

    March 25, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    This is how far the ‘enabling the homeless’ has taken us:

    The DNR has to tell La Crosse to clean up it’s act. We’re unsanitary.

  7. Since When

    March 25, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    Where was the DNR action reported before this article? Did I miss it or did the media give Reynolds cover by not previously reporting it?

    • Roy

      March 26, 2024 at 8:52 am

      First knowledge comes from a news release written by MR himself (see above)…after all the cleanup is done. An “enforcement action” by the DNR. Bears looking into, if someone in La Crosse was up to it. Check your US Mail-see if the Trib has anything.

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