La Crosse’s Pump House hopes state tourism grant will benefit community

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse will receive $288,140 from a grant designed to boost state tourism.

The art center was founded 45 years ago, and its employees say it plays an extra special role in the community. For many, art plays a significant role in our lives.

“Whether it’s literary arts, reading a book or watching TV or watching film… it’s gotten me through the last two years. And I think that’s true for a lot of people,” said Robin Cosby, president of the Pump House’s board of directors.

Its role is just as significant in the community.

“A healthy arts community is a healthy community,” Cosby said.

Health is exactly what the Pump House hopes to foster. With this grant, they hope to do even more.

“It’s much bigger than the pump house in it of itself. It’s really about an investment in our community,” Cosby said.

With the grant, the Pump House plans to install a marquee at the front of the building to solidify its place as an art district. They also plan to have a mural done on their block of King Street.

“We would love to use paint that appears in the rain, so the art would actually shift with different seasons,” said Allison Krzych.

The grant money also will allow the facility to renovate its bathrooms.

“We serve approximately 50,000 visitors per year … our current facilities are woefully inadequate for that number of people,” Cosby said.

The Pump House will use the rest of the money to pay off new chairs that are already in the theater. These are improvements that Pump House workers say won’t just benefit them.

“This really is an economic investment in the city,” Cosby said.

And an investment for everyone who calls La Crosse home.

“Not only is it tourism — but the arts offer a balm for people at times like this,” Krzych said.

Pump House staffers are excited and shovel-ready with all these projects, Cosby said, but it always needs volunteers. You can look for volunteer opportunities on its website.

Prairie Du Chien’s main street also received a $119,000 grant. More information on that program can be found here.

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