County wants to help city of La Crosse, WI revitalize neighborhoods near downtown

If you build it, they will come.

But if you help tear it down, will they build?

La Crosse County (Wisconsin) could be poised to find out in La Crosse’s Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood.

County officials have proposed offering two types of grants in 2016 aimed at offsetting some of the demolition costs of replacing lower-value houses in PPH with homes worth $150,000 to $200,000.

Only three of the 634 houses in Powell-Poage-Hamilton now have that value, the lowest number of any La Crosse neighborhood. Almost 75 percent are worth only $50,000 to $100,000.

Yet city and county officials believe there would be an interest in higher-end housing if available in PPH, given its proximity to Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, Viterbo University and La Crosse’s core (downtown) businesses.

People would like to live within some of the neighborhoods close to the downtown, but the housing stock isn’t sufficient,” said Karl Green, community resource development educator for the UW-Extension in La Crosse County.

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