City of La Crosse gains full control of EcoPark

WisCorps to take over educational programming

The Myrick Hixon EcoPark in La Crosse has new ownership.

At a special city council meeting Tuesday night the council voted unanimously to terminate its agreement with the park and take over control.

The nonprofit Myrick Hixon EcoPark Inc. had an agreement with the city from May 2013 through April 2023.

The park came to the city a few months back asking to terminate that agreement because of what council president Dick Swantz referred to as “hard times.”

Locks will be changed Wednesday when the city officially takes control of the property and anything left at the EcoPark.

The city is responsible and says it will honor all agreements the park has in place with groups renting the facility prior to the termination of the agreement. Swantz said from there it will be up to the council and community to decide what is made of the property.

“The city will take the time in the near future to sit down with the community at large and talk about where are we going from here? What do we want to do with this precious piece of property,” Swantz said.

The La Crosse Parks and Recreation will now be in charge of the maintenance, up-keep and management of the property. The department’s director Steve Carolyn said there is already a list of people waiting to sign up to rent out the space.

“It will be basically run on a model similar to the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center. So groups are welcome to come in an have meetings and gatherings and all kinds of events there,” Carolyn said.

Both Swantz and Carolyn emphasized there needs to be and will be a lot of community input on what will become of the EcoPark.

Carolyn said there will be a series of meetings with stakeholders within the coming weeks to get the process started.

Educational programming with the La Crosse School District will continue as well. The city’s parks board voted Monday to have Wiscorps take over that programming through September of next year.