Pocket neighborhood on La Crosse’s Green Bay street ahead of schedule

A former empty piece of land in La Crosse is now adding value to the city. The site along Green Bay Street is the former Naval Reserve site and the city moved to develop new housing on the land.

An official from Spies Construction, the contractor on the project, said they are way ahead of schedule.

“We’re putting 10 of them in here,” said Delores Spies, owner of Spies Construction.

Ten houses are being built. This project began in April and is way ahead of schedule.

“When it’s all said and done it will be a really nice addition,” Spies said.

Spies’ family business is helping the City of La Crosse develop this former Naval Reserve site into prime home real estate.

“It’s a good tax base,” she said. “It’s just been sitting there with nothing being done with it.”

In less than a year, a few homes are nearing completion. Colleen and Larry Weibel’s home is already done.

“It seemed like Christmas had come,” Colleen Weibel said. “Labor Day weekend we were moving in.”

They lived in La Crescent for 45 years and now they are really enjoying retirement.

“I have got a double-car garage,” Larry Weibel said.

Colleen is a retired home economics school teacher. Now she gets to teach in her new kitchen.

“I have a very nice kitchen, which is my classroom now,” Colleen said. “I have taught (my husband so many things. (He) didn’t have any lumps in the gravy this year.”

The Weibels also get to live on a piece of La Crosse history.

“The streets are called courts,” Colleen said. “They were named after the three ships from the Navy.”

She said they can spend more time with their grandkids.

“They barely take their coats off at the door and they are heading toward the basement,” she said. “They’ve got it all set up.”

The goal was to add value to the city.

“The best thing to do is to raise your property values and the standard of living,” Larry Weibel said. “Show people, this can be done.”

Colleen said it’s also about creating a sense of community.

“Get to know people and be a neighbor to a neighbor,” she said.

The city gave Spies Construction a five-year window to complete this. They started in April and could finish two years early. Officials with Spies said this project could add an estimated $3 million in tax base. Each of the homes is valued at around $250,000 to $300,000.

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