As La Crosse City Council prepares to vote on Thursday on the rezoning of the former fish hatchery in Riverside Park, developers sent a letter to the Tribune titled, "Using the Fish Hatchery to Fuel the Love of All Things La Crosse."
Here is the full letter signed by Marty Walleser & Tiffany Smith, Hatchery LLC:
"I’ve watched The former Fish Lab in Riverside Park for years be underutilized and mostly inaccessible to the public. When the City sought bids to repurpose it, a business partner and I saw the potential to revitalize the building to historical accuracy, to allow community members, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to host a multitude of small events -- i.e. fewer than 100 people -- and ways to boost our love for local.
"We envision pop up shops, boutiques, art shows, educational events, life celebrations, community forums, and fundraisers. Our vision must replace the crumbling, seven-car parking lot and renovate the semi-functional garage. We will create an outdoor public space with a patio that features rotating local food and beverages and is complementary to the exquisite International Friendship Gardens.
"We will continue to tradition of housing the tools used to maintain the nearby garden. We will host tourist information, local art that is available for purchase and will welcome and embrace ways to use this high-profile location to grow our community and tell our history.
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"This vision and use complies with the current zoning of the building. What we need to make it financially viable is the steady income of a single-unit bed & breakfast above. It offsets the sporadic use of the public space.
"My business partner and I asked for a zoning change. We have heard, understood, and tried to address the concerns of neighbors. We are not the cause of its change of use, simply one of only a few who responded with a proposal after the City determined there needed to be a new use.
"The matched investment we will make to develop the building, the revenue sharing payments to the City, the local use inside and outside the building, and the vibrancy it will bring to Downtown La Crosse, we believe, is the best proposed use for the space we will lovingly call, “Hatchery.”
"We look forward to continuing to work with neighbors to address concerns as they arise."
--- Marty Walleser & Tiffany Smith, Hatchery LLC
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