La Crosse Public Market site location narrowed to 3 possibilities

A site analysis for the La Crosse Public Market was presented to the City of La Crosse Friday.

The 33-page analysis is the second document released by Aaron Zaretsky from Public Market Development regarding the site analysis for the location of a Public Market in the city of La Crosse.

According to Andrea Schnick, City of La Crosse Economic Development Planner, “Zaretsky will next be working on a business plan for a Public Market which will identify important factors such as funding options and sources, vendor make-up and management plans for a successful market in La Crosse.”

This site analysis follows an earlier Feasibility Study, “A Public Market In La Crosse? A Feasibility Study”, which examined the feasibility of locating a Public Market in La Crosse. The Feasibility Study noted that while La Crosse’s businesses enjoy hundreds of millions of dollars in shopping from its roughly 300,000 regional residents, it remains significantly under supplied in fresh and prepared food venues that would form the core of a La Crosse Public Market.

More than a year ago the thought of a public market coming to the city of La Crosse remained a distant reality but the city is a step closer to an official plan. Zaretsky of Public Market Development has 38 years of experience helping plan and develop public markets. Schnick said Zaretsky says La Crosse remains a strong candidate for a potential market.

“He loves La Crosse,” she said. “He lives in North Carolina and every time he comes here he raves about the people here and the scenery and the amenities we have in our community.”

She said the city has been working with the postal service on the idea of possibly acquiring that site. The site analysis favors the Riverside Festival Area the most.

“We don’t want the Oktoberfest grounds to go anywhere,” Schnick said. “We would want to see the public market being developed into a much larger development in that area.”

The site analysis shows the major strength of the Riverside Festival area is its location in reference to downtown and the river. The strength of the Post Office is surrounded by many downtown businesses.

River Point District is right next to a busy road artery of La Crosse. The next step is deciding which site offers the best possible outcome and designing a business plan.

“How to actually make this work and work toward an opening date,” Schnick said.

Schnick said the business plan could be done in a couple of months. Raising the necessary funds necessary to build the market will take longer. She expects a two-year window before any ground is broken on this project.

Click below for the complete analysis.

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