City asks residents what they want from federal funding

Survey helps gage want La Crosse community wants

With the hopes of gathering public input the City of La Crosse Planning Department surveyed over 1300 residents and employees to find out what they wanted out of federal funds.

“Basically just how should we expend funds for community development.,” Caroline Neilsen, the community development administrator said.

Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied.

“But they want us to continue a lot of the progress we made last year,” Neilsen said.

Those surveyed picked ‘replacing deteriorating homes with new homes,’ ‘improving enforcement of code,’ and ‘increasing housing repair loans for homeowners’ as the three initiatives that best improve neighborhoods.

Residents said that improvement to drainage and storm water systems was one of the things La Crosse should focus on in the next five years.

“So that’s something that we hadn’t thought was going to be that popular. but that was something that came right near the top.”

In the surveys comment section residents voiced their concern over how deteriorating homes negatively impact the area.

“How they are noticing the run down homes in their neighborhoods and noticing some perceptions of an increase in crime,” Neilsen said.

Because the issue came up frequently in the survey, city of officials are making that one of their main priorities when funding is decided later this year.

“Through lending programs or through actually having the city acquire a demolish program so we got a $2 million budget that they’ll be approving and we will be looking at rolling that out through the next five years,” Neilsen said.

In February the city council is going to be approving that $2 million budget. In addition to run down homes, funding will also help programs for the homeless, and supply low interest loans for new neighborhood businesses, among other things.