La Crosse organizations open new senior center inside La Crosse Footwear building

La Crosse area seniors have a new place to gather and connect, organizers say it's a place to build community
Senior Center

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – There is a new place for seniors to gather and connect. A collaboration of three La Crosse organizations helped build a new space for seniors inside the old La Crosse Footwear building on St. Andrew Street.

The organizers who made this possible say it’s more than just a space of tables and chairs. Conversations away from the table are not the same.

“There’s something really powerful in being able to share that you love and enjoy with other people,” Kassie Miller said, a program coordinator with La Crosse Parks Recreation and Forestry. “It really builds that sense of community.”

A community Kassie Miller helped build with the new space for people to enjoy the passing time.

“Have a place to kinda call their own,” Miller said.

La Crosse’s current senior centers are aging and closing.

“Honestly, I feel like it means opportunity,” Miller said.

La Crosse park and recreation program coordinator Amy Brezinka is working on this too and she agrees.

“It’s amazing how it all came together,” Brezinka said.

These ladies represent one of three organizations (La Crosse County Aging and Disability Resource Center, and the La Crosse Public Library) making this vision a physical dimension. The place offers a fitness room to keep people active and alert. The colors on the walls have a purpose too.

“Apparently it’s very motivational,” Miller said.

The painting of the Mississippi River inside the main dining hall also has a deeper meaning.

“When she heard that this site was a collaboration between three entities, she right away thought, ‘Oh, where the three rivers meet in La Crosse,” Miller said.

La Crosse is a place where people come together to exist in space and time. Time spent in ways we couldn’t imagine over the past year.

“There’s so many seniors aging at home,” Brezinka said.

So many members of this community searching for human interaction.

“There some fear and there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Brezinka said.

Gathering places like this Miller said offers a new horizon for people.

“I feel like this kinda gives a lot of hope to people,” Miller said. “That they’ll have a place to go and connect.”

It will still take time before organizers will be able to welcome the entire community back to fill these chairs, but at least now they have something to look forward to.

“I’m hoping for the immediate future to find a name for this place,” Miller said.

For now, 1407 St. Andrew St. will do.

Leaders are still looking for a name for the new center and they would like the community to weigh in. People can call 608-519-2088 or visit to find out more about programs for seniors.