Road leading into Veterans Freedom Park to be renamed after La Crosse Veteran, Louie Ferris

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- The City of La Crosse wants to honor, a well-known and respected veteran who recently passed away.

Louie Ferris was an advocate for all veterans.

RELATED: North La Crosse’s Louie Ferris remembered as a patriotic veteran, community servant

The city was considering changing the name of Veterans Freedom Park to Louie Ferris Veterans Freedom Park.

Tonight’s meeting was filled with area veterans who knew Louie Ferris very well.

There was a lot of discussion during the public hearing about why the name change isn’t something Ferris would want.

They aren’t going to change the name of the park, but they are going to honor him in a different way.

“If Louie Could be here tonight, he would tell you this is not what he wants. Louie Was not a selfish man, he worked hard for all veterans, and he didn’t look for Glory,” said a close friend of Ferris, Carol Wateski.

Wateski has known Louie Ferris for more than 20 years, she was on the Veterans Freedom Park Committee with him.

When she found out about the proposal to rename Veterans Freedom Park to Louie Ferris Veterans Freedom Park, she knew she had to speak up.

“I just know if Louie was here he would say don’t do it,” said Wateski.

Wateski wasn’t the only person to speak up, Many veterans who knew Ferris also shared their stories.

“As veterans, we have come to believe that it is not the best idea to name a public area after one individual,” said Ameican Veterans Post 1851 Commander, Pat Young.

After the public hearing, the board members decided to not change the name of the park, but instead rename the road leading into the park.

“An amendment to this would be naming the road that leads into the park Louie Ferris Drive,” said La Crosse Parks and Rec Director, Jay Odegaard.

City council members said they wanted to Honor Louie Ferris in a special way and never meant to disrespect anyone.

“We walked away with the ability to remember him and memorialize him to a degree while still keeping the veterans and the sacredness that comes along with the name of the park itself,” said Odegaard.

Odegaard said he isn’t sure when they will install the new “Louie Ferris Drive” sign, but he hopes it happens sooner than later.

Louie Ferris passed away in early December after a battle with cancer.

He will be remembered in La Crosse for all of his dedication to the community and

for helping his fellow veterans.

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