City of La Crosse Proposes Small Business Relief

The City of La Crosse’s small business owners are facing an unprecedented challenge with store closings and declining consumer traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City’s Planning & Development Department has reached out to La Crosse businesses over the last few days and their resounding message is the COVID-19 situation will force closures and layoffs. To date, approximately 100 of our downtown businesses have been forced to close their doors or dramatically change their business operations, which have forced them to significantly cut back on staff.

In solidarity with the owners of these businesses, the City of La Crosse wants to help employers retain staff, pay their vendors, keep their lights on, and help restaurants dealing with expensive, perishable inventory. We recognize there are resources available at the State and Federal levels, but our businesses need immediate reassurance that the City is a partner in this and we are here to help them keep their doors open.

In order to assist with these unprecedented challenges, the City proposes the following programs:

  1. Small Business Disaster Relief Grant. The City proposes a relief grant to assist businesses to supplement State and Federal programs. Grants would be based on payroll, providing up to $5,000 per 10 employees for a maximum of $25,000 per business. Details of the grant are in the works, with the planned program to be reviewed and acted on by the La Crosse Common Council at their April 9th meeting.
  2. An immediate pause for all businesses currently participating in any of the City-loan payments, including capital, small business development and upper floor renovation loans for the next three (3) months.

For questions and more information about the City’s small business relief effort, please contact:

  • Andrea Schnick, Economic Development Planner at 608-789-8321 or via email:
  • Jason Gilman, Planning and Development Director at 608-789-7362 or via email:


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