Group Holds Open House on Referendum in Stevens Point

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Stevens Point residents have one week to decide how to vote on a $5.9 million referendum to re-develop the downtown mall.

On Feb. 15th, citizens will be asked whether to allow the city to borrow the money.

If passed, plans include moving Mid-State Technical College into the JC Penney wing of the mall. City of Stevens Point offices would then take over the former MSTC building. In turn, the Boys & Girls Club of Portage County would move into the the current Parks and Recreation Department building on Sims Avenue.

According to the city, $3.9 million of the $5.9 million total cost would be used to buy and remodel the JC Penney wing. The remaining funds would go toward re-developing the rest of the mall.

A group of community leaders known as "Yes For Stevens Point" held an open house Tuesday evening to give the public an opportunity to ask city leaders questions about the project.

They say if the referendum passes it will revitalize the downtown.

"I think its very rare that you have this many partners coming together that are willing to work on a project to really better our community. We can see that the downtown mall has really failed," said Sarah Robinson, the groups spokesperson.

Monday Gov. Scott Walker announced the city will receive a $750,000 block grant toward the project, but it's only good if the referendum passes.

Opponents of the project say it will cost taxpayers too much, and the city can't afford it.

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