Businesses nervous about parking issues expected soon

Construction begins Monday on $68 million Lot C development

It may be tougher to find a parking spot in downtown La Crosse starting Monday.

Construction will begin on the $68 million housing, retail and office building on Lot C, which will be forcing some La Crosse County employees to find somewhere else to park.

La Crosse County officials think they have the problem under control, but downtown employees are worried this will bring more parking issues.

With less than a week until two years of construction begins to develop Lot C, employees from businesses surrounding the parking lot are concerned the cars in the 285-stall lot are going to be taking parking spots away from their customers.

“It’s going to hurt our business and the people that work here don’t know where to park,” said Linda Skaff, manager of Digger Sting’s in downtown La Crosse.

A half block away from Lot C is Coalition Drum and Board Shops, where employees park on the street in the two-hour parking zones.

“We literally have timers on our phones to go move our cars,” said Ethan Subkowiak, manager of Coalition.

Subkowiak said it’s never easy finding a spot to park, no matter what time of day.

“I’m going to avoid the issue and in the summertime I’m going to ride my bike,” Subkowiak said.

Wettstein’s owner, Dan Wettstein, is excited for downtown growth, but worries about parking issues, too. He’s hoping he has a solution.

Wettstein is asking the Downtown Mainstreet organization to work with contractors, and the county to monitor the construction and give people a warning of issues they may face in the downtown area.

“If they’re going to have a lane closure or a street closure, you know, make sure everyone in the downtown area is fully aware of it,” Wettstein said.

La Crosse County Administrator Steve O’Malley said the county is leasing about 100 parking stalls and has found additional parking for employees in a few nearby lots.

O’Malley said county employees will be asked to park in those designated spots, keeping them off the streets and keeping downtown business as usual.

“Monday we’re going to start with this and see if this, meets most of the needs and keep addressing this as we go through the 20-24 month construction period,” O’Malley said.

There will be metered parking added to existing county parking lots available for public use to make up for the metered spots that are currently in Lot C.

For more information about the Lot C project click here.