Mayor reviews 2016 in La Crosse

This year was a busy one for the city of La Crosse, with several new business and housing developments, and neighborhood improvements. As 2016 comes to an end, News 8 sat down with Mayor Tim Kabat to review the city’s year.

Kabat said looking back on his list of goals for 2016, many of them were met.

“I think we saw the continuation of a lot of great momentum from the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’re seeing business expansion and job creation and new housing that’s being developed in our neighborhoods, and some projects we’re looking forward to completion in January, like the Bakalars Sausage building redevelopment.”

Kabat also cited effectively ending veteran homelessness as one of the city’s biggest accomplishment this year.

“I think we came together really effectively as a community in achieving our goal to end veterans’ homelessness before the end of the year,” he said. “We had identified 12 homeless veterans in the La Crosse area, and a few more came online throughout the process, and I think that’s another great accomplishment in our community.”

Kabat said that he’s also proud of various neighborhood improvements.

“Whether it’s neighborhood resource officers or the finishing of Poage Park this year, and the new playground downtown in Cameron Park, all of those things taken in total, it was a really good year for the city, I believe,” he said.

The mayor is also happy about the new development throughout the city.

“I think the developments we’re seeing down town, not only Belle Square and the office building under construction, but you see a lot of the other investments being made in the downtown with new restaurants and new businesses starting up,” Kabat said.

In one word, Kabat described 2016 in La Crosse as vibrant.

“I really think we’re seeing that level of vitality and people making the choice to live here and work here with all we have to offer,” he said.

Kabat said he’s also pleased with the steps the city has taken toward recognizing racism and discrimination, and holding listening sessions about what the city can do to move forward.

However, he said there are a couple things he wished had happened in 2016.

“Well I’m a little disappointed still that the Common Council decided to raise the tax levy more,” he said. “I think other main issue is the library. The fact that we weren’t able to get to an agreement with La Crosse County. I think that was a big missed opportunity.”

“You always think about, well we accomplished a lot, but there’s still more to do,” Kabat said. “That’s maybe why we have this next year coming up, right?”