La Crosse mayor reflects on 2017 in the city

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - From invigorating city neighborhoods, to a historic boundary agreement, to housing dozens of people struggling with homelessness, La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said the city has a lot to be proud of in 2017.

"We had a really good year,” he said. “We’re seeing  a lot of signs of progress.”

Kabat said the city has built up momentum in many areas that he hopes will continue into the new year.

"I think really from any part of the city, part of neighborhoods, you're seeing construction, you’re seeing investment and revitalization happening."

As part of that revitalization, Kabat pointed to securing permanent funding for police neighborhood resource officers, new houses and street lights and updated parks.

"To see young families and children enjoying those parks, like Tower Park by the South Branch Library, seeing what those types of investments do to reinvigorate an area neighborhood is very significant."

Kabat said it's just as important to make sure everyone can live in those neighborhoods, noting strides on the homelessness front as one of his proudest moments of the year.

"This year, we were able to really address tent city in a significant way, and to provide housing for those people who had been experiencing long-term homelessness was a big deal, a big achievement,” Kabat said.

Restoring blufflands, improving roads  and revealing a boundary agreement with the town of Shelby after years of negotiation are also on the mayor's list of accomplishments.

Kabat said there are also things he didn’t get to this past year.

While he's happy the Coulee Council on Addictions new building project is moving forward, he wants more options for those struggling with drug addiction.

"In my mind our goal should be, anyone who wants help, who has made that decision to take the next step forward, there shouldn't be an issue,” Kabat said.

As for other issues, such updating old fire stations and improving bus routes, there's always next year.

"For most part, there are a lot of good things going on with momentum, and we want to keep that going,” Kabat said.

Kabat said he's proud the city's accomplishments were done without raising tax rates in 2017, and mill rates will be lower in 2018, thanks in part to growth in the city and increased assessed values.

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