Chad Erickson Park opens

Park named for La Crosse boy who spent time there

La Crosse honored one of its own Saturday by dedicating a piece of the city to Chad Erickson.

Residents and city officials established the Chad Erickson Memorial Park Saturday morning on a 22-acre piece of land next to the Reuben Trane building. The park includes hiking trails, fishing piers and an 80-foot bridge across the pond that Chad first discovered on the property years ago.

Chad’s parents say he would spend hours at the park after school before his early death at age 15.

“He would come home wet and dirty, and a 45-minute from school would turn into an hour, hour and a half, so we told Chad, ‘Show us where you spend this time,'” his mother, Barb Erickson, said. “After we lost Chad, it became a favorite place for my husband and I to walk and one day we said, ‘Let’s make this a park.’

Barb said the park was only possible thanks to community donations.

“It turned out so much better than we thought it would, and we’re very happy with the response,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without the collaboration of a lot of great people.

If you would like to make a donation to the park of the Chad Erickson Memorial Fund, you can learn more online at