The Viroqua City Council voted to approve the historic designation of a Warehouse District on the city’s northeast side at its meeting Tuesday night.
The district consists of properties at 504 E. Decker St., 225 N. East Ave., 518 Walnut St. and 305 Railroad Ave.
Gregory Splinter, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, said out of the four properties, three are designated Viroqua Landmarks.
“These are special buildings,” Splinter said. “They form a wonderful cluster.”
Splinter said the buildings share a similar history and are connected to tobacco production.
“We could ask for designation plaques similar to the Historic Main Street District and draw attention to the history,” he said. “It could develop into a nice area to attract tourists.”
Vern Britt, manager of the Viroqua Eagles Aerie, asked if the city was interested in purchasing the club’s property at 216 S. Rock Ave. He said the Aerie purchased 13 acres near Tractor Supply Company on the city’s north side to relocate the club.
“Now we are at a point where we need to ask if the city is interested in it or should we put it up for sale…,” Britt said. “We are now looking at a realtor.”
“I know I will not get an answer tonight or next week,” Britt said. “I feel we are getting squeezed out.”
Britt told the council if the club hosts a funeral luncheon it runs out of parking “really quick” because there is library parking, Western Technical College parking and MOSA parking. He also said the parking lot is in “dire need” to be replaced.
“I ask you to consider the purchase of the property; it’s all I can ask before it gets sold,” Britt said.
Trina Erickson, director at McIntosh Memorial Library, gave an annual report to the City Council.
She told the Council the library opened on Rock Avenue two years ago, Feb. 22, and through Dec. 31, 2017, the library checked out 184,607 items, which reflects a 6 percent growth from 2016. In 10 years the circulation has increased 57 percent. Of the total checkouts, 87,230 were to residents of the city of Viroqua and 97,377 were to people who live outside the city.
Erickson said 9,337 people have library cards from the Viroqua public library; of that number, 3,955 are residents of the city of Viroqua. In 2017, the library issued 486 new library cards.
Erickson reported the public internet computers were used 12,850 times in 2017, and the library offered 487 programs to the public. “Total attendance (at the programs) exceeded 10,000 people,” she said.
Erickson said other libraries from across the state contact her asking about what is happening at the library. She said she always give credit to the City Council for approving the library’s construction and the library staff for their work, and tells people the community “embraces” the library.
“You should be proud of what we are doing; we are doing some great stuff there,” Erickson said. “I invite you to visit.”