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City votes to move forward with Naval Reserve site

Committee votes to negotiate with developer

City votes to move forward with Naval Reserve site

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - A plot of land that has sat empty in La Crosse since 2008 is one step closer to being filled.

The City of La Crosse is moving forward with plans for the old Naval Reserve site.

Earlier this year the city decided on a pocket neighborhood design for the site, with houses turned inward to form a small community in the middle of the city.

They recently opened up the plan for bids, and received only one bid back.

Thursday they decided to move forward with that developer in hopes of bringing life to a long abandoned plot of la Crosse land. It's been a long process and we're very excited to continue to move forward," said Caroline Neilsen, Community Development Administrator for the City of La Crosse.

A twin cities developer has stepped forward with plans for the site. Thursday the planning committee voted to start negotiations with that developer. "Negotiating price for the land, we want to definitely check this individuals financing, look more into their history and background, check references, look at previous developments," said Neilsen.

But the main goal would be establishing a timeline for a piece of land that has been dormant for 7 years. "As a city we always want to grow our tax base and so there is potentially a great deal of tax base that could come from this property, and then just to see these beautiful homes in this pocket neighborhood finally come to our city," added Neilsen.

The pocket neighborhood design was embraced by the surrounding community. Some people who showed up to public meetings have already said they'd be interested to buy. "It's been a very popular concept on the West Coast so we think as a city, trying this out this might spread, this concept might spread to other areas of the city or maybe we'll influence the communities around us," said Neilsen.

The city has settled on a general plan for the space including the plot and house sizes. Whether they will stay the same will be part of the negotiations with the developer.

There is also talk about building in a geothermal heating system throughout the development,but that is an expensive idea and will also be part of the negotiations.

The city says if the negotiations go well they could start developing the land as soon as next year.

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