LA CROSSE, WIS — Restaurants have taken to outdoor seating as a way to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, but as the weather continues to cool, those options will quickly fade away. The City of La Crosse thinks they have a solution to extend outdoor dining options year round.
Builders completed construction of a 75 story patio heating lamp meant to cover the heart of downtown La Crosse, bathing the city in its unnatural warm glow.
“This way, people can continue getting burgers at The Crow or grabbing a gyro from Soula’s without having to choose between getting COVID or getting frostbite,” Geraldine Lapsax, the city’s new planning and development director, said.
The new structure was constructed from 643,000 pounds of stainless steel and puts out 48,000,000,000 BTU’s of heat. City officials said the temperature changes as you get closer to the base of the lamp located just at the end of where Main Street meets 2nd.
“In the dead of winter, plan studies estimate that locations further away like Cabin Coffee will experience a brisk 65 degrees,” Lapsax added, “but if you’re eating at The Breakfast Club and Pub it will be more like 120 so drink some water and bring sunscreen.”
The construction was not without controversy. The lamp, now called the “Second Sun of Main”, is expected to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions to Xcel energy.
“The thing is though, there’s always that winter moratorium, so we can’t get shut off,” Lapsax added confidently.
The location also caused a popular and unique art display to be destroyed.
“We are deeply sorry about the Herons of La Crosse statues that all melted,” Lapsax said. “That was a miscalculation on our part, but what are we going to do, just cook meals at home? Come on.”
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.