LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) — The United States Post Office in La Crosse, the Riverside Festival area and a location in the River Point District were selected as finalists to host a public market open all year round. year.
The city hired consultant Aaron Zaretsky to write the 33-page report for city officials to review. The place would serve as a cultural hub filled with small businesses and local vendors, bolstering the success of seasonal farmers’ markets.
“This is something you normally see in large communities and so having one really envisioned for the city of La Crosse is exciting,” said Robin Moses, executive director of Downtown Mainstreet, Inc.
The site analysis took into account 15 locations across La Crosse from the Valley View shopping center to the parking lot in front of the Charmant hotel. Officials are also not ruling out new proposals that may become available in the future.
Data from the report indicates that the Riverside Festival area is leading the way.
“We would like to see a lot better development there with maybe more activity,” said Andrea Schnick, economic development planner for the town of La Crosse. “This is something the consultant looked at, is what benefit the public market would bring to the rest of the neighborhood.”
The Riverside Festival site is just under 12 acres and includes the Oktoberfest grounds.
“I think proximity is really important to be near downtown, and that’s where we currently have a big boom in residential growth,” Moses said.
The next step in the process is to work with the owners of these sites and uncover any potential environmental liabilities.
The consultant is also working on developing a business plan that includes the potential sources of funding for the attraction, the different management structures and the suppliers that would operate.
“To move forward, I hope something happens quickly,” Schnick said.
City officials hope to start working in the market within the next two to three years.