The city council of La Crosse put a brake on the purchase of a hotel which would house part of the unsheltered population of the city.
By a vote of 13 to 0, council passed a resolution to invoke an inspection condition that was part of the purchase agreement. Mayor Mitch Reynolds said a building inspector found several issues that needed to be addressed before the city could move forward with the $1.5 million purchase. The hotel is located at 5212 Mormon Coulee Road.
The council met for more than an hour behind closed doors before proceeding to the vote.
“This is your typical real estate transaction that happens in a very public way,” Reynolds said. “We have found a significant number of items on the property that we would like to heal. If the items are not cured, we would no longer be able to purchase the property.”
Mark Neumann was the only board member to speak after returning to open session. He said he didn’t want the vote to be misinterpreted by the public.
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“There is always a possibility, given the way this is going, that we could still end up with the property,” Neumann said.
The hotel could accommodate up to 32 unhoused residents. About 100 unprotected residents are staying at the Econo Lodge hotel, where the city has a lease that extends through the end of April.
Many of the homeless people are expected to return to Houska Park later this spring. The city has designated the park as a campground for the unsheltered.