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The former branch of the library in La Crosse could be used as a residential building in the future

The former branch of the library in La Crosse could be used as a residential building in the future
The former branch of the library in La Crosse could be used as a residential building in the future

The former southern branch of the library in La Crosse could be converted into housing.

A city development commission has approved a proposal to put up to six housing units in the library building on 16th Street and build additional apartments in other parts of the block.

On Wednesday, the Economic and Community Development Commission reviewed plans from three potential developers before making a recommendation for a project called Willow Grove. Neighborhood residents have voiced support for ideas that would preserve the old library, which opened in the 1950s.

“The proposal for Willow Grove calls for redevelopment within the library, so keeping the library building and then adding two semi-detached townhouses on the north side of the property,” said city planning director Andrea Trane. An additional residential unit proposed for the library block could be removed from the plan. City officials would have to negotiate with buyers before a development plan is finalized.

The city closed the South Branch library last year due to cost concerns, so the city now has two public libraries, one on Main Street and one on the north side. At previous community meetings about the library building, residents said they would not want the building used as a homeless shelter or replaced by a business like Kwik Trip.

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