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Mary Kay Kavanaugh: Vote no on changing Fish Hatchery Building zoning

From the COLLECTION: Debating converting fish hatchery into wedding venue and more series

The City of La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department is attempting to change the zoning of the historic Fish Hatchery Building, located at the north end of Riverside Park. The building is currently zoned as public/semi-public, the proposal is to change the zoning to commercial.

This change will allow the interested parties, Hatchery, LLC to lease the building to make way for its proposed wedding venue/beer garden, meeting center.

As a resident of La Crosse (not a resident of the near-by apartment building) and frequent user of Riverside Park and especially the International Garden, I am asking the City Council to vote no on the zoning change.

The City of La Crosse is expected to spend $1 million for upgrades and a roof to the Fish Hatchery Building within the year. Why then turn around and lease the building for a few thousand dollars a month for commercial use? This will take business away from Downtown La Crosse and disrupt Riverside Park. This will create excessive noise, increased traffic/parking, and add another place to drink alcohol. Do you remember the intoxicated young people who drowned right there?

Proposals to lease the Fish Hatchery Building can still be entertained, but under the current zoning restrictions. Has the city contacted the local Native Americans or others about an educational site? I believe this could fit into the current zoning restrictions and would add great value to our beloved Riverside Park.

Mary Kay Kavanaugh

La Crosse

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