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Area arts and entertainment venues thankful for relief grants

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Governor Tony Evers announced $15 million in grants to Wisconsin in live music and entertainment venues around the state on Thursday.

Among the recipients of the money from the CARES Act and distributed by the state are County Boom LLC and the La Crosse Center.

Brent Smith, the President of the La Crosse Center Board, and Jon Holthaus, the co-founder of Country Boom LLC said both organizations make a huge impact on the La Crosse area.

According to the Department of Tourism, Country Boom brought an estimated $3 to $4 million to the La Crosse area in 2019.

County Boom LLC received $246,732.23 in grant funds.

"This grant money will help County Boom. What this grant money will do is secure our viability for years to come," Holthaus said. "What most people forget is, Country Boom provides a lot of fundraising activities for local nonprofit groups. Some of those people are bartenders, people who pick up trash, and or help parking cars. Because Country Boom is not happening this year, many have lost their whole year of fundraising activities."

The La Crosse Center received $196,317.07 in relief.

"We are delighted with the grant money we've received," Smith said. "Our staff worked hard on getting the right information to the state to be able to get this relief money. Not everybody who applied did get it."

Smith said many of the surrounding merchants downtown told him that the La Crosse Center events substantially impacted their businesses.

Smith and Holthaus said they are looking forward to the days where the pandemic will be a thing in the past, and the community can work to rebuild itself once again.

A total of nine area arts venues in the La Crosse area received various amounts of relief funds from the state.

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Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist.

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