From: Mike Cichanowski
President, Port Authority of Winona
Vice President, Port Authority of Winona
Latsch Island is a City of Winona Nature Park. It never was and will never be an industrial site. Why? Because Mother Nature controls Latsch Island’s ever-changing contours and the federal government controls its permitted usage. The City of Winona and the Winona Port Authority own and promote other land for industrial development that is not found in a floodway and is serviced by appropriate municipal utilities.
The fabricated stories in the Winona Post regarding Latsch Island becoming an Industrial Park are simply that - fabricated and poorly researched. For example, in his Winona Post 08/07/2013 article, Chris Rogers stated, “… John Latsch gave Winona one of the most valuable gifts the city has ever received; …including Winnebago Island, Aghaming Park and Latsch Island.” Not true for Latsch Island; the City of Winona purchased it.
Starting with that faulty premise, it appears to us that it became all too easy to slide down the slippery reporting slope of conspiracy as the root cause of including Latsch Island in a new Riverfront Development District boundary description. The purpose of the new description had nothing to do with Latsch Island. The new description was, however, created to allow federal funds to be used for Winona Municipal Airport improvements and bring the airport into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. The FAA Airport and Airways Trust Fund will be paying a minimum of 90% of the airport improvement costs, which we believe is the responsible position of the Winona Port Authority to take. This helps business in Winona grow, just as the buying, selling and improving of land does for job creation in our community.
Although we recognize that Dick’s Marine has been a “business” in its location for several decades, no one involved on behalf of the Winona Port Authority has ever talked about Latsch Island becoming an Industrial Park. There is no monster under the bed.
As Jerome Christenson wrote in his August 14, 2013 article, “When it comes to muckraking, the facts are everything.” We do our best to continue to promote the Winona community in its many aspects.