For more than a year now the city of La Crosse has been putting an emphasis on revitalizing some of its neighborhoods. One of the ways they're doing that is by creating more single-family homes.
The city purchased property at 10th and Denton Streets in March and Wednesday morning the walls came down as crews began demolishing the condemned home that currently sits on the property.
The former grocery store turned five-plex apartment building stood vacant for a few months. The city teamed up with Habitat For Humanity to help revitalize the neighborhood by destroying an eyesore and building a brand-new home.
La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said his dream came true because he got to take the first swing at demolishing this former apartment building. Neighbors are excited, too.
"It's just really exciting to see this (house) go and hopefully something better to come to this community," neighbor Sherrie Culbert said.
Culbert has lived just down the street for six years and said the old home has brought nothing but problems.
"There have been a lot of troubles in the neighborhood because of this house in general with drugs running in and out of there and you know just bad people, a lot of police. I mean, it's been a real problem for this neighborhood for a long time," Culbert said.
As part of the city of La Crosse's neighborhood revitalization project, Habitat For Humanity will be building a three-bedroom, energy-efficient, ADA certified, single-family home. They already have a single mother and her two kids chosen as the lucky new homeowners.
"Every time something like this happens it just makes the neighborhood a better place to live," City Council member Fran Formanek said.
Formanek said making single family homes more accessible is what the city is aiming for and it's a way to keep from more rental properties popping up.
"Well, it seems to me that when we get single-family dwellings homeowners are more involved in their community. They basically buy into it, they're more active and it makes our community more vital," he said.
Culbert said the city has done a lot of work to help her neighborhood and it's starting to show.
"You know things are really starting to look up around here and I think this is just going to be another additional piece to that puzzle to bring this neighborhood back together," Culbert said.
Kabat said this home is only a part of a concentrated effort to revitalize the Powell, Poage, Hamilton and Washburn neighborhoods.
Last year Habitat For Humanity built a new house about a block away and the city currently has two projects going on Tyler Street.