City creates new economic commission

Board would cut through red tape, make developments easier

The city introduced a new committee Thursday to help bring more development faster to La Crosse.

La Crosse city officials have spearheaded other economic initiatives in the past decade to help build up businesses and encourage more developers to start projects in La Crosse. But the Economic Development Commission will help combine all of those initiatives to really streamline the process of revitalizing our city’s economy, according to mayor Tim Kabat.

 “The idea is really to create a one-stop shop if you will for the city process, for the development community and for those who are working on a development project who might need city assistance,” Kabat said.

The 9-member commission held it first meeting Thursday morning with the goal of changing the sometimes lengthy process developers go through in La Crosse before starting new projects.

“It’s streamlining, I believe,” said Amy Peterson, a member of the commission and the administrator for La Crosse’s planning and economic development office. “It’s having a commission that’s diverse in its base. We’ve got accountants, small business owners, all right next to city council members.”


The streamlining process would help companies look to start new projects or expand old ones – like Chat Industries recently did on the south side – to work through one committee instead of several. It would eliminate a lot of bureaucratic red tape, and also a lot of time.

“There is now one point of contact for everything economic development in the city,” Peterson said.

The commission was created by an ordinance passed back in May to help place a stronger emphasis on La Crosse businesses.

Members say it will act as an open door for developers to move into La Crosse and help bring a fresher face to the city.

“It gets back to the idea of having the broad goal in mind of revitalization,” Kabat said. “This is the committee that’s really going to roll up their sleeves and get that work done.”

The Economic Development Commission is only an advisory board – it will make recommendations on all development proposals, but the City Council has the final say. Kabat chairs the board. Its members will begin processing development applications at its next meeting in late December.