La Crosse council OKs $262,000 from rescue money for Houska Park Campground improvements

Money will go toward restroom facilities, dumpsters, staffing and security, among other things

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — The La Crosse Common Council allocated $262,000 from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to operate and maintain the Houska Park Campground this season.

The expenditure, passed as part of the council’s consent agenda Thursday, is intended to pay for improvements in connection with the Park Board’s approval of Houska as an official campground so homeless individuals can camp there instead of being scattered throughout the city.

The money is to be spent on the “power infrastructure, restroom facilities, dumpsters, staffing and security to ensure the safety of the guests at the campground,” according to the resolution.

The $262,000 is under what the resolution describes as the “bridge housing projects for the homeless population … as part of the $1.5 million allocation of ARPA funding” for homeless people.

That allocation included housing at the Econo Lodge in North La Crosse under an agreement that ended April 30. Dozens of people have been camping in the park since then.

La Crosse officials are striving to come up with a more permanent solution for homeless housing by the end of September.

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