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  • Writer's pictureBe Local La Crosse


If you’ve passed by 7th & Main recently, you may have noticed that Burns Park is undergoing a transformation. What started out as a casual daydream among a few residents with young families has, more than three years later, evolved into a thoughtful revitalization project.

This feature was written by Courtney Lokken.

Burns Park was platted as a public square in 1852 and was the first public park in the City of La Crosse. With its central location, Burns Park serves as a bridge between the downtown residential and commercial districts. Members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association - which brings together residents, property owners, business owners, and institutions to promote a more livable downtown - advocated to return Burns Park to its original role, but this time with a modern, inclusive, and multi-generational appeal. In partnership with the City of La Crosse and River Architects, our association worked to develop an inviting and friendly design that will draw more people into the historically underutilized park.

Since early brainstorming stages, neighbors agreed it was essential to preserve the park’s inviting green space and towering tree canopy. Historically, crisscrossed sidewalks tended to lead people through the park rather than into the park. In the new design, however, the sidewalks will lead you to a warm, circular gathering space at park center. There, you’ll find a colorful shade structure, tables for lunching, a unique and whimsical playscape for children, plenty of intimate seating, and chess tables (with pieces available to checkout at the library). The park will offer space for small performances and programming, public art, bike parking, and vibrant landscaping with hardy native plants.

"We hope Burns Park will become a space that encourages and inspires us to see, hear, respect, and value everyone in our diverse community." -Courtney Lokken, Chair of Downtown Neighborhood Assn.

During these challenging times, we are grateful to see the project underway, and our neighborhood looks forward to a day when the park will be full of life and laughter. We hope all members of our community will feel welcome in Burns Park, no matter one’s cultural background, socioeconomic status, housing status, or otherwise.



To donate to the project, visit or email downtownneighborhoodlax

For status updates on this project, please visit:

Burns Park Informational Packet
Download PDF • 14.06MB

To view the project scope, download the informational packet here:


Downtown Neighborhood Association Mission

The Downtown Neighborhood Association brings together residents, property owners, business owners, and institutions in order to enhance our safe and welcoming neighborhood, celebrate our history, and foster community among our diverse populations.”

Neighborhood Boundaries

North - La Crosse River; East - West Avenue; South - Cass Street; West - Mississippi River

DNA Executive Board

Chair - Courtney Lokken

Vice Chair - Christine Kahlow

Treasurer - Pam Squires

Secretary - Denny Hallemeier

Member at Large - Penny Fassler

Contact Information

P.O. Box 1661

La Crosse, WI 54601

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