State releases $5 million toward La Crosse Center expansion

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The release of $5 million in state funding for the La Crosse Center expansion project was among $65 million the state building commission waved through Wednesday.
Among commission members voting to release the money was State Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse. The La Crosse Center funding was part of the 2017-19 budget, listed as a non-state building grant.
“The La Crosse Center is a major economic driver for our local economy, estimating an annual economic impact of $40 million,” said Billings, who also chairs the building commission’s Higher Education Subcommittee.
Billings cited the center’s hosting gatherings such as the annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference as among its main values to the community.
“The expansion of the La Crosse center will allow our region to maintain and expand upon these tourism opportunities,” she said.
Although La Crosse Center events are down this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the renovation and expansion are preparing the facility for years of gatherings and entertainment, she said.
Groundbreaking on the estimated $47 million project took place in December. Estimates are that the project is creating nearly 800 jobs regionally and has a local economic impact of more than $90 million.
Other projects approved included:

  • Construction of three Department of Natural Resources fire response ranger station replacement projects in Black River Falls, Cornell and Gresham.
  • Construction of the Old Brewery and Biergarten as the Brewing Experience building at Old World Wisconsin in Waukesha County.
  • Construction of 15 maintenance and repair projects located at various locations in 11 counties across the state for the departments of Administration, Corrections, Health Services, Natural Resources, State Fair Park and the UW-System.