UPDATE: City Council Passes 400 Block Renovations Plan

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

According to our radio partners WSAU, Wausau's City Council has passed a $1 million plan to renovate what's known as 'the 400 block.'

Some city officials say the time is now to shine up Wausau's diamond in the rough.

"If you want to be a first class city, it starts with a first class downtown," said Mayor Jim Tipple.

That's why officials have invested $100 million in Wausau's downtown over the last several years, and they aren't done yet.

"Well I think the plan for the City Square is an excellent plan. I think the committee that's worked on this has worked long and hard," said 4th District Alderman Jim Brezinski, who plans to vote yes.

The project includes adding specific features to the entire block, making it more cohesive and more beautiful...while making downtown a bigger destination.

"Each side of the block has a significant feature. Probably the most prominent feature along Jefferson Street is the stage," said Bill Dunchanson, director of Wausau and Marathon County's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Other amenities include lines of honey locust trees and plants, an interactive water fountain, and extra seating on an elevated plaza.

It will also feature permanent power and irrigation systems.

"Our department's very proud of this design. This project has had more public input than any project I've been involved in in 35 years of public service," said Dunchanson.

A public hearing in July drew nearly 100 residents.

The comments were mostly positive, but some believe the $900,000 price tag is too high during a down economy.

"One of the concerns was the funding mechanism and I think again one of the things we can be proud of Wausau for, is the private sector has stepped forward," Brezinski said.

The city will rely almost soley on private donations to fund the project.

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