In 1962 the City of La Crosse created the Redevelopment Authority of La Crosse, for the purpose of carrying out blight elimination, slum clearance, and urban renewal programs and projects as permitted by the Blight Elimination and Slum Clearance Act.
The focal point of the City’s revitalization efforts has been the Central Business District, as a result of developing a master plan for Downtown entitled City Vision 2020, and putting TIF Districts in place. Implementation activities include streetscaping, a decorative sign program, creation of a National Register Historic District, and building construction projects totaling $290 million in public and private investments within the last ten years.
City Vision 2020
La Crosse has seen its economy change as former industrial activity Downtown has waned, leaving behind sites and facilities that open the door for new uses and redevelopment opportunities. The City Vision 2020 Plan provides a concept for how Downtown La Crosse could develop and redevelop into the future. Here are the goals of the Plan:
- Maximize the Downtown’s connection to the river and river-related activities.
- Create and maintain available, visible and convenient Downtown parking.
- Facilitate redevelopment of major catalytic project nodes.
- Continue improvements in historic core.
- Establish prominent entrance gateways into Downtown from the north, south and east.
- Provide effective Downtown management, processes and marketing.
- Enhance Placemaking in Downtown.
In the Plan the City and Downtown Mainstreet Incorporated
(DMI) identified seven key Downtown redevelopment sites as priorities. They include the following:
- Listman Mill (4.13 acres)—developed
- Sara Lee Building (3.62 acres)
- Xcel Energy site (4.02 acres)
- La Crosse County parking lot (2.25 acres)
- Park Plaza (5.89 acres)
- Transit Center site (1.32 acres)—developed
- Mobil Oil site (65.97 acres)
Additional potential redevelopment sites were identified in the planning process by the Project Management Team and represent areas that maybe susceptible to change in the future.