Veterans Memorial Pool will be unique compared to the city of La Crosse’s other two pools under a design finalized Thursday by the La Crosse Common Council.
The council unanimously voted to approve the design for the $3.15 million pool on Campbell Road, as well as the appointment of council member Scott Neumeister to the La Crosse Center Board and two developments on La Crosse’s south side.
Getting the design approved was a relief, said council member Barb Janssen, who has been working on getting the project moved forward since before she was elected.
“I think people, when they see this, should be very proud that their input was seriously taken into account, because this pool does not look like any of the others in the city of La Crosse, and that’s what people wanted,” Janssen said.
The design includes eight swimming lanes, an open swim area 3 to 4 feet deep and the opportunity for a water slide or diving boards. It incorporates marble slabs from the existing structure, which will be repurposed into a memorial for veterans to include a flagpole.
“We can always have swimming lanes. That was probably the number one thing I heard when I was going door-to-door a year ago was we don’t have a place to swim laps anymore,” Janssen said.
The pool closed in 2016 after analysis found it would need at least $40,000 in repairs and had significant water leaks. The closure prompted public outcry and the creation of a city committee to analyze options for services and location, and the council voted last year to preserve the pool at its current location.
A working group made up of council president Martin Gaul, city engineer Randy Turtenwald and parks, recreation and forestry superintendent Jay Odegaard worked with Ayres to develop a plan to get the project moving forward and complete by the beginning of the 2019 swimming season.
Janssen praised the group for taking into account the feedback from several groups.
“I hope that it’s an incentive for people to get more involved because their opinion does matter,” Janssen said.
The design comes in under the $3.99 million budget, and Janssen said the next step was securing funding. The city previously allocated funds from its 2018 capital improvement budget for the project and Janssen plans to advocate for further funding in the 2019 budget.
A community group called Veterans Memorial Campaign has also pledged to contribute, raising funds from private donors to support the project.
La Crosse Center Board
Council member Scott Neumeister will join the La Crosse Center Board after his appointment by Mayor Tim Kabat was confirmed unanimously by the La Crosse Common Council
The appointment came as a bit of a surprise, but he was grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m excited. I’m hoping I can bring a different perspective and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot,” Neumeister said.
The appointment comes after council member Jessica Olson resigned from the board. Olson departed the board in July, the day after the La Crosse Common Council rejected the $49.2 million concept that sent the expansion into Riverside Park, saying she believed a fresh start was necessary to bring the vital project to fruition.
The board continues to work to develop plans for the expansion, with architects from ISG and Gensler working on designs in the $42 million to $49 million range, including designs that would go north, toward the center’s north hall and the Pearl Street walkway, rather than toward the park.
“I realize that this isn’t an easy deal we’re working on, so I’m going to have to do a lot of studying, a lot more work than I’ve already done on it and hopefully learn a lot more from council member Olson, who’s already given me a lot of information,” Neumeister said.
Rezoning to make way for the Waterview subdivision on the city’s far south side and 10 single-family homes on the former naval reserve site were unanimously approved Thursday by the council.
La Crosse developer Karl Schilling of Property Logic LLC is moving forward with plans to create nearly two dozen lots on the southeast corner of Hwy. 35 and Sunnyside Drive, working with Nick Roush of Roush Rentals to turn two of those into apartment buildings.
Meanwhile, Spies Construction will construct 10 cottage-style homes with attached garages in the back off a shared driveway to be built on the formerly city-owned land located on Green Bay Street. The project is the culmination of a partnership between the city and Spies Construction, which both approved a development agreement for the property in April.