7th graders help out city with planning for redevelopment

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LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU) -A contaminated redevelopment site got a planning makeover by a class of 7th graders.

For 40 years the Mobile Oil Site in La Crosse has been considered a redevelopment site. So some students from Lincoln Middle School took it upon themselves to let the city planners and mayor know what they would like built on the 64 acre lot.

The kids had some well thought out ideas and some creative ones as well.

“We wanted to put a bike trail and a lot of different things like a YMCA and houses as well,” said Jazmine Valencia.

Valencia’s group was one of four that got to present their project to Mayor Harter and the Planning Department.

“The big theme is having fun. You see a lot of rollercoaster’s, indoor water parks, frisbee golf, and mini golf,” said Planning and Economic Administrator Amy Peterson.

Peterson said that she considers the overwhelming amount of fun themed projects as a cry for change from the students.

“It brings to light that our community is lacking in those fun places for kids in the 7th grade,” said Peterson.

Mayor Harter was happy to hear what the kids had to present.

“These ideas won’t be thrown out the window and hopefully will be incorporated in the future,” said Harter.

City Planning hopes that by next year they will start public planning for the site.

Last month Mobile found more contamination at the site. They plan to remove the last bit of hazardous material in two weeks. Meanwhile, the city is trying to get rid of all the concrete that is cluttering the site and recycle it.

It’s likely that the building process won’t happen for another few years yet.

“I can say within 5 years we will have started the redevelopment,” said Director of Planning, Larry Kirch.