La Crosse moves forward with Riverside North project

Local businesses express concerns, city officials are listening

The City of La Crosse is moving forward with the Riverside North Development, but there is some concern from businesses near the project.

Two different committees gave their approval to move forward Thursday. It was the first time the Steering Committee and Redevelopment Authority had seen the plan since it was finished in May.

The design is the result of a 7-day planning marathon. It includes housing, retail and waterfront development.

It calls for development near existing businesses on Causeway Boulevard, those businesses want to make sure their concerns are heard and the city says they are listening.

“We recognize that they are there and they have legitimate concerns, they have some concerns about noise because some of them operate early Saturday morning or second shift up to 10 or 11 o’clock at night, and others, one was a new business, he had just sold the business to a new buyer, and so, no one is really putting forth this plan to disrupt existing businesses,” said Director of Planning Larry Kirch.

Several of those business owners showed up at the meetings Thursday, including Steve Heuslein, President of La Crosse Truck Center.

He says he wholeheartedly endorses the development, but he wants to make sure the land his business sits on will not be taken away by the city.

“If that area near us develops quickly, the developers need to be told kinda hands-off because these businesses want to stay, they are paying taxes, they are vibrant, employing people at this point and we appreciate it if we could just be left alone,” said Heuslein.

When both committees voted to endorse the plan Thursday, they did so with the caveat that the plan remains flexible to local businesses, like Heuslein’s.

The next step in the process is to create legislation to be approved by the council. The Planning Director says that legislation could be presented to the council in September.

The city is also going to send out a request for bids from developers. They say it’s going to be a nationwide search.