Strong August profit renews push for Center’s renovation

Unusual profit for August helps Center's renovation efforts.

An unusually strong August in profits for the La Crosse Center begins a renewed push for the center’s renovations.
This past August was the first time in at least 24 years that the Center turned a profit for that month.
While the news does not directly impact the funding for future renovations, it brings a renewed focus to the project’s goals. La Crosse Center Board Member Brent Smith said he’s never seen a month for the Center like this.

“It’s the only one I remember since I’ve been around that it’s actually in the black, we show a profit of $20,000 dollars, so it’s an unusual August,” said Smith. “We had three good sized conventions in town.”

The surprising profits are giving the proposed renovations to the La Crosse Center a much needed boost.

“It’s a good sign, and it shows the economic impact we have for the community,” said Smith. “You talk to the hotels, the restaurant owners, ask them what it is like for those days when those conventions were here. They’ll tell you they saw an uptake in their business.”

While its profits don’t directly affect the funding for the renovations, both the Board and the city say it’s a step in the right direction.

“The more we can show the City Council, the mayor, that we have more people in the Center, we’ll be able to repay for the expansion quicker.” said Smith.

“Every bit of positive news and positive growth the La Crosse Center can see in room taxes, and ticket surcharges, and everything else, that’s going to be a good contribution to this larger expansion project.” said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.

Regardless of how the project will be funded, its completion is a top priority for both the city and the Center.

“We know there’s a direct relationship between what happens with the La Crosse Center, the various events, and the overall health and vitality of downtown La Crosse and really our whole region.” said Kabat.

“You want the best facility possible, the most up to date facility, to be able to compete for those events that have a positive impact on the city of La Crosse.” said Smith.

Smith said the Center’s biggest goal is the expansion west towards the river for more events.

Other projects would include internal maintenance and repair to the already existing portion of the building.

At this time, the La Crosse Center Board is in the process of prioritizing building projects following a recent marketing and building analysis of the property.

Both the city and the La Crosse Center say the expansion would not take place at the earliest until the beginning of 2017.