A committee in La Crosse will discuss measures to prevent more deaths along the river. La Crosse's Alcohol Oversight Committee plans to hear from residents (Tuesday) about how to prevent more deaths in the Mississippi River. Mayor Mark Johnsrud had introduced a proposal to the full Common Council that includes installing motion-activated lights and reflective signs in Riverside Park, in the wake of the death of UW basketball player Luke Homan. “This is mainly to help law enforcement determine whether anyone is in the park when they shouldn't be but it may also deter a person who is disoriented and intoxicated from traveling down to the water if everything is lit up.”
Johnsrud says city residents are also concerned about cluttering the lakefront with lights, gadgets and fencing. “We're looking at the beauty and aesthetics of a city park. We don't want to create a fence along the city park just to pacify those individuals who think that that somehow is going to solve the problem. You have to remember the city of La Crosse has over six miles of waterfront.”
Mayor Johnsrud stresses, the bigger issue is to deal with binge drinking. He says people need to be convinced that there is a real problem. Johnsrud says Homan's popularity could be drawing attention to the issue and maybe help to prevent further tragedies. The 21-year-old was the eighth alcohol-related drowning of college-age men in La Crosse since 1997.
The proposals are scheduled to be taken up during the November 9th Common Council meeting. Tonight's meeting is at 4:00 at the City Hall Common Council Chambers.