La Crosse halts purchase of hotel to house unsheltered | Government and Politics

The La Crosse City Council applied the brakes to purchasing a hotel that would house a portion of the city’s unsheltered population.

By a 13-0 vote, the council passed a resolution to invoke an inspection contingency that was part of the purchase agreement. Mayor Mitch Reynolds said a building inspector discovered multiple issues to be resolved before the city can move ahead with the $1.5 million purchase. The hotel is located at 5212 Mormon Coulee Road.

The council met for more than an hour in closed session before taking the vote.

“This is your typical real estate transaction that is occurring in a very public way,” Reynolds said. “We found a significant number of items on the property we would like to cure. If the items are not cured, we would no longer be able to purchase the property.”

Mark Neumann was the only council member to speak after the return to open session. He said he doesn’t want the vote to be misinterpreted by the public.

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“There is still a possibility, the way this is rolling, that we could still end up with the property,” Neumann said.

The hotel could house up to 32 unsheltered residents. Roughly 100 unsheltered residents are staying at the Econo Lodge hotel, where the city has a lease that extends through the end of April.

Many of the unsheltered are expected to return to Houska Park later this spring. The city has designated the park as a campground for the unsheltered.

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