La Crosse looking to combine library and senior center

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This week, the La Crosse Public Library is beginning a renovation process.

The process began after the city council passed a resolution to explore combining the south side community library with the south side senior center.

"We think that bringing the generations together is very important and we know that all generations come to libraries. But we also think it's important to make sure that the community is offering services and programs to older adults within the community, specifically identified for them. But also opportunities for inter-generational situations as well," said Lifespan Design Studio Principal Architect Douglas Gallow.

The past three days, the architect and design teams from Ohio and Minneapolis held public meetings to get a feel for what La Crosse would like to see.

"When we arrived here we didn't know how involved the community in La Crosse would become in this process and we are really pleased to see a lot of feedback and high attendance to all the meetings. And also we will have another opportunity with a survey that goes online through the library website, starting (Wednesday) at noon," said Project Manager Dagmara Larsen, of MSR Design.

The idea for combining the senior center and library is rooted in the deteriorating conditions of both facilities, but also the convenience of it all.

Officials say combining the south side library with the south side senior center would be a great fit because both facilities offer similar opportunities for their members.

"I've heard a lot of the seniors discuss the need for an open space for card playing and socializing. We have the same need for programming. This is also a polling place, so we would need those kinds of open spaces for voting," says La Crosse Public Library Director Kelly Krieg-Sigman. "We've heard the seniors talk about wanting nice, cozy places to read. Libraries offer that all the time."

The design team says they will take all the information gathered this week and will start creating different options of what the new facility could look like.