Neighborhood associations are popping up in several parts of La Crosse, but can they really be a source for change?
La Crosse is home to five neighborhood associations, and there three more are currently in the developing stages.
Walking through the Logan-Black River community on La Crosse's north side, the city's revitalization commission chair, Sara Sullivan, can sense a change coming.
“I think people have really begun to focus on their neighborhood and what they would like it to do,” said Sullivan.
The community is just one of the latest looking into developing a neighborhood association where local residents, educators and businesses come together in hopes of changing the area for the better.
“We already have council persons who do their very best to represent their district, but the neighborhood association is another way to have a common voice for everybody,” said Sullivan.
Whether it’s fixing up houses with a new paint job or finding ways to tackle bigger issues like poverty, Sullivan said neighborhood associations can influence change.
“Big things can be accomplished,” said Phillip Ostrem, chair of the Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association.
The Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association is one of the oldest neighborhood associations in La Crosse.
Ostrem said he has seen that change firsthand.
“People that I've spoken to that have lived here a lot longer than I have say that the neighborhood is vastly different than it was say even five years ago,” said Ostrem. “So there's a lot less crime, there have been a lot of improvements (and) new homes being built.”
The creation of the South Side Neighborhood Center also started with the association.
The group is planning for improvements to Poage Park, too.
While Ostrem and Sullivan said it takes a lot of work to start and keep a neighborhood association going, it's worth it to provide a good and safe community for generations to come.
A meeting was held at the Muse Theatre, in La Crosse, on Wednesday night to see what kind of interest is out there for starting a neighborhood association in the Logan-Black River community.