It’s out with the old and in with the new as a La Crosse park undergoes demolition to pave the way for a revitalized neighborhood.
In a continued effort to revitalize neighborhoods in La Crosse, a park on the Southside is getting a major overhaul.
Its National Community Development week and what better way to celebrate in La Crosse than to show the changes being made in the community.
Poage Park has been part of the La Crosse community for more than a century.
“As a youngster, I grew up not too far from here, but we played fast pitch softball at this park and it brings back a lot of memories,” said Francis Formanek, District 12 City Council member.
Plus it has a pretty unique history.
“This park was originally laid out by John Nolen, who was an understudy of Fredrick Olmsted who designed the first national park, which was Yellowstone, and first city park, Central Park,” said Steve Carlyon, the director of parks and recreation for La Crosse.
But Monday marks the start of a new beginning for Poage Park.
“I think I am bringing the history back in terms of what a park should be,” said Carlyon. “We are going to keep ice skating here, great venue in the winter; we are going to add some multipurpose play areas, brand new state-of-the-art playground, so it’s safe and a water feature.”
Poage Park is the latest project to be added to the list of places that has benefited from the Community Development Block Grant Program.
“We have had the program in La Crosse since the 1980s and we’ve received over 31 million dollars we have been able to put into the community,” said Caroline Neilsen, community development administrator for La Crosse.
The money has contributed to the redevelopment of 48 new affordable homes, assisting more than 50 businesses in creating more than 500 new jobs and helping almost 1,400 homeowners repair their homes.
“About 5 percent of our housing stock we have been able to provide low interest loans to help people do renovations and really upgrade our tax base,” said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.
Although residents won’t be able to use the park during renovations, Formanek said it will be well-worth the wait.
“This is one of the biggest areas of development that is going to make the community so much better,” said Formanek.
The second building on the property will be demolished within the next day or so because they found electrical wiring inside that they still need to check out.
The park is expected tobe up and running by fall or early next spring but this is only step one of revitalizing the parks within the community. Next year, the city will focus on upgrading Powell Park.
There are events scheduled throughout the week showcasing organizations that have benefited from the federal grant program.
Tuesday April 14, 2p.m. – Salvation Army Facility Tour
5-8 p.m. – Coulee Co, Starters Flight Night – The Root Note
Budding entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to a live audience and compete for prizes.
Wednesday, April 15, 4 p.mm -Small Business Mixer – Four Sisters Wine and Tapas**
Small businesses learn about financial incentives from the city, county, non-profits to expand their business.
Thursday, April 16, 5-6 p.m. -1,2,3 easy: Cooking Local, Organic, Fair Trade, People’s Food Co-op**
Friday, April 17, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 10th and Cass Historic Architectural Tours – Starting at 1024 Cass Street
Saturday April 18 – Children’s Activity Day**
10:30 a.m. -12 p.m. – Kane Street Garden Tour and Spring Planting
1- 4 p.m. – Washburn Community Gardens: Drop in and experiment with worm compost.
Saturday, April 25, 9:00-11:00 a.m. – Habitat for Humanity Open House – 814 7th Street.
For events marked ** you need to RSVP. Send an email with the event title to email@example.com or call 608-789-8321.