La Crosse committee sends two contentious issues to Common Council

A rezoning request would allow for a proposed Airbnb and wedding venue in Riverside Park; SRO pact also goes to council

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A rezoning request for a proposal to convert the former fish hatchery building in Riverside Park in La Crosse into a wedding venue and Airbnb propelled spirited discussion during a meeting of the city’s Judiciary & Administration Committee Tuesday night.

Wedding Venue Outside Page 002

Proposal would renovate the old fish hatchery building in Riverside Park, formerly the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau, into an Airbnb and wedding venue.

The committee approved, with a couple of dissensions, sending the rezoning request to the full council on Aug. 12. Some committee members and residents insisted during the public hearing that the matter amounted to an end-around residents’ opinions.

One committee member said she didn’t feel the committee had had enough input from the public and wasn’t listening to their concerns.

Common Council President Barb Janssen questioned the wisdom of leasing the city-owned building to a private enterprise to be a wedding venue and Airbnb.

Proponents of the zoning change to allow developing the former fish hatchery building into a wedding venue and Airbnb said it would be a boon to tourism for the city. It also would boost interest in the adjoining Riverside International Friendship Gardens, they said.

Opponents — especially residents of the RiverPlace Apartments adjacent to Riverside Park —insisted that a wedding venue and possible beer garden would detract from the tranquility of the park.

The city committee also debates the future of the school resources officers program. Learn more here.