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City officials worried over Trump's budget

Specific grants eliminated in Trump's budget

City officials worried over Trump's...

President Donald Trump's federal budget could impact building projects in La Crosse.

One of the big cuts comes with the elimination of community development block grants,  something La Crosse has taken advantage for several years.

Community block grants are funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under Trump's budget proposal,  the department would have its funding cut by roughly 16 percent,  including the elimination of community block grants.

And city leaders say the elimination of the program could hurt further development in the city.

Caroline Gregerson is the community development administrator for La Crosse, which oversees housing and building projects in the city.

"We've seen several major projects in our area -- such as the 2219 Lofts building, Roosevelt School was (helped) pay for with community development block grants,” Gregerson said.

But the grants also help cover costs with homes as well.

"We have helped 1,200 homeowners in La Crosse make repairs to their homes,” Gregerson said.

But what the city receives from the federal government could be changing in the next federal budget.

"We are possibly looking at a cut of $1.2 million to the city of La Crosse per year,” Gregerson said.

"In my mind, it is totally devastating and makes no sense whatsoever that a program like that would be on the chopping block,” La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said.

Kabat said the city's neighborhood revitalization programs would take some of the biggest hits, including a proposed housing project by the Kane Street Community Garden on the city's north side.

"A project like that not happening is very upsetting,” Kabat said. “We would do less, and there would be projects that would fall off the table. We wouldn't be able to stretch our dollars."

Despite the uncertainty, the city has no plans of slowing down their revitalization programs.

"We're going to keep moving forward, because our neighborhoods are too vital to pause,” Kabat said.
The city provides funding to other community organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army with the community development block grant money as well.

It also funds a home building project through Western Technical College and Central High School.

President Trump is expected to unveil a larger, more detailed federal budget, at some point later in the spring.

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