The enhancement of Wausau's City Square in downtown Wausau is officially underway after Monday morning's ground breaking ceremony.
The project was only made possible after volunteers secured $1 million in donations this summer.
Today's ground breaking was a long time coming. A city committee first eyed the 400 block as a possible public space in 1996. Buildings were razed in 2000.
Finally next spring the square will become the attraction city leaders have visualized.
"Raising a million dollars for a project like this, particularly during this time was a challenge. We might have been a little naive when we picked that amount," said Joe Mella, chairman of the SquareUp committee.
But the public came through. Along with $1 million in fundraising, the city pledged $200,000 through in-kind services.
Construction on the City Square began two weeks ago and will continue as long as the weather permits. Then crews will get back to work next spring, and hopefully be finished in time for all of next year's scheduled events.
"One of the problems we are facing is we don't wanna miss any of the programming so we cut off a couple events in the fall but we didn't wanna destroy the programming in the summer," Mayor Jim Tipple said.
The square hosts dozens of events throughout the year. Once finished, it will have a permanent performance stage and water fountain, among features.
Mayor Tipple says it's certain to attract more people downtown, boosting business.
"Anytime you have an active downtown people want to be there and they want to take part of what's happening so this is kind of the next step of sprucing it up, if you will," he said.
Miron Construction won the bid of general contractor.
Updated: 05/08/2013 - Every Wednesday we meet an adorable animal from the Humane Society of Marathon County in need of a loving home. This week, we met Hayden.