A neighborhood development project on La Crosse's south side could change an old, abandoned lot into a cutting edge neighborhood.
The city is looking into creating a pocket neighborhood on the old Naval Reserve site near Green Bay and Losey streets. Monday the city held an informational meeting to explain the pocket neighborhood concept to community members.
The concept would turn a simple neighborhood into a mini-community. The pioneer of pocket neighborhoods in the country, Ross Chapin is part of the project, he has designed hundreds of pocket neighborhoods. "The pocket neighborhood is designed around nearby neighbors, being neighborly," says Chapin, "when the comings and goings with people to and from their car or from other activities, they have a chance to meet each other."
"This is the first time the public has really heard these concepts," says City Planning Director Larry Kirch. Kirch says getting feedback is important for a site has sat empty since the buildings came down in 2008. After the lot was cleared the city had neighborhood meetings to find out what people wanted. Overwhelmingly the neighborhood wanted eight single family homes, but when the city tried to sell, there were no serious bids.
When the city heard about pocket neighborhoods they began to pursue the idea. It's just in the planning stage right now, and Monday's public meeting will give them feedback they can use to more forward. Some of the concerns from the crowd included increased traffic, flooding and parking access. But whatever the concerns, Chapin thinks the pocket neighborhood can work here in La Crosse, "I think when people see what they are and they get a feel for them, they'll realize that it's a great opportunity for many people."