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Houska Park: City council approves $262,000 for campground that will house homeless this summer

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The city received the official OK to spend $262,000 on maintenance and operations at Houska Park, which is serving as a campground for individuals experiencing homelessness for the summer.

These funds were approved unanimously by the La Crosse Common Council on Thursday and are coming from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funding.

La Crosse has officially designated Houska Park, an island park just south of downtown, as a campground where those without stable housing can camp out and sleep without fear of being ticketed, and with centralized access to resources.

These funds will go toward supports such as port-a-potties and wash stations, security, dumpsters and staffing.

A new electrical grid at the park will cost the city $90,000, the largest funding piece for the operation.

The city council approved the bid for installing this new power infrastructure, paying $69,996 to Kish & Sons Electric.

The funds are coming out an already allocated pot of ARPA money that was dedicated to bridge house projects for those experiencing homelessness.

The city announced it would use Houska Park as a sanctuary of sorts for those facing homelessness earlier this spring after unsuccessful attempts at establishing bridge housing.

Houska Park was officially established as a campground to accommodate the operation. It’s the second year the park has been used for this purpose.

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