June 19, 2008

Sparta Council OKs Fort McCoy on-Base Hotel

By Chris Hubbuch, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jun. 19--Fort McCoy got long-sought approval Tuesday when the Sparta City Council voted to approve plans to build an on-base hotel and recreation center.

The council voted 7-1 to give Fort McCoy its approval for the troop morale project, which would allow a private developer to build and run the facility. Mark Richgruber opposed the measure. The public-private partnership requires the support of local municipalities and the congressional representative. The Tomah City Council and Chamber of Commerce both voted in April to support further exploration of the idea, while Sparta's did not. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has said he would approve it so long as local support is unanimous.

The Sparta council voted 7-0 on April 15 to oppose the project.

Sparta's Chamber of Commerce board also reversed its earlier opposition, voting two weeks ago to support all three elements of the proposal.

Some Sparta leaders had said they felt rushed to give an answer when they didn't know enough about the project.

"That was good news," Fort McCoy spokeswoman Linda Fournier said of Tuesday's vote. "Once they were provided with more information, maybe those things they had a question about were resolved."

Plans will now go to another command for approval before the Army calls for proposals from interested developers, Fournier said.


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