Lowering the arches

Toby Ravnum of La Crosse Sign Group takes down the McDonald’s sign earlier this year in preparation for the North Side restaurant’s relocation.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

The owners of the George Street McDonald’s restaurant have filed a civil suit against the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to contest the compensation awarded as part of the Interstate 90 Exit 3 and Hwy. 35 project.

Onalaska-based Courtesy Corp. filed a notice of appeal Jan. 12 in La Crosse County Circuit Court alleging the amount awarded the company by the DOT was insufficient to compensate the business for the property at 1140 West George St.

The company was forced to relocate its restaurant at the corner of George and West George streets as part of a highway redesign by the DOT. The new features include a new traffic signal at that intersection, meaning the DOT would requires a larger right of way. The DOT paid Courtesy Corp. for the property; however, according to court documents, the corporation alleges the amount covered property interests and rights including simple fees, access rights and a temporary limited easement, but failed to cover personal property, fixtures and other interests of the corporation.

Both Courtesy Corp. President Rick Lommen and DOT spokesman Michael Bie declined to comment on the details of the matter, citing the pending litigation; however, Bie did say the matter was routine in real estate acquisitions.

The amount the DOT paid for the property was unavailable Thursday. The property has a fair market value of $822,000, according to La Crosse County land records.


La Crosse city government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(15) comments


How much did it cost the City to install the infrastructure to support the privately owned Java Hut built in the median between 3rd & 4th streets (a state highway) La Crosse near Gundersen Clinic?


This was a convenient and well run location, hopefully McD's will rebuild nearby.

By the way, our City leadership should be aware those Golden Arches are a real draw to people on the interstate driving by who want a quick meal.


Guessing "personal property fixtures" includes compensation for the salvaging the hideously enormous sign, as the photo insinuates (removing the hideously enormous concrete base too??). Also guessing the owner is caught in the middle of DOT & McD corp playing good/bad cop.

Either way, DOT shouldn't be in the business of compensating for undesirable superfluities that muck up the river skyline, which DOT was probably forced by McDs to permit installation for in the first place, I'm sure. Surely McDs already benefitted a hefty sum off of sign advertising.

Someone needs to go eat their Happy Meal before this turns into a public hiccup for McD Corp-- pay your owners!

let it go

I want you to think what it would cost for you to be moved out of your home and if you were wouldn't you want to be compensated fairly? This has nothing to do with money but compensation. Courtesy Corporation compensated the houses that were knocked down, many of which would have never sold. This is just the DOT not making good on their end of a deal.




It's not a matter of how I feel about being compensated for my house. It's a matter of what the community isn't aware of.

If what i said is true-- and it seems that way (why else would it be news?)-- then owner's beef is with McDs Corp, not DOT.


"this has nothing to do with money but compensation" Wow that one is a doosy. money = compensation. I am sure Courtesy Corp was paid fair market value and maybe a little more for their property. I've known several people and businesses that were bought by the DOT, and none got compensated for personal property, just for the buildings and land.


...the entire road project is a $150 million "superfluity" as you call it.

A total waste and one reason the DOT is broke.


Lommen's are greedy tools. wah wah wah go home and cry to your momma




Poor rich man with his hand out for more of that gufment money! Times are getting so tough for him he might actually have to eat the slop that his restaurants serve.


I see it more as karma. He pays a terrible wage and makes plenty of money himself. I will not set foot in a restaurant owned by Courtesy Corp! Won't put another penny in their dirty pockets, even if someone else is buying!!


Take the money and run. You will be better off and so will patrons. Service at area locations stinks, prices increase quarterly and food not fresh. Biscuits hard and crunchy morning noon and night!


Ahhh POOR Dick Lommen.....A multi millionaire that did not get enough $$$$$ Poor baby.......


Right on!! If they're such a "wonderful" business, why can't they keep their restaurants staffed? They are always looking for help!

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