31 votes the difference for Stevens Point referendum to pass

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:29 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -It came down to 31 votes to pass the Stevens Point referendum in Tuesday’s election. That means every transportation project that costs more than $1-million will need to go to a public vote.

“The people have spoken,” said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza.

I asked the mayor if there was a possibility of a recount, but he said it wouldn’t really matter.

“Because it’s so close, even if it swung 31 votes the other way, even if it swung 100 votes the other way it’s still prudent to re-examine the road design,” said Wiza.

Kevin Faltoff president of the Southside Business Association stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to see the election results.

“I had tears and I can even get a little emotional right now talking about it because since September 20 of 2021, all the business owners, all the citizens of Stevens Point that stepped forward at that first city council meeting, we worked extremely hard,” said Faltoff.

Hard work that Mayor Wiza said could have been avoided.

“I’ve said this before. This whole process could have been avoided if we’d have just been a little more willing to sit at the same table and try and work through this,” said Wiza.

Moving forward, they’re on the same page.

“What is next is that we hope the city council starts working with us and we stop butting heads and we talk and we agree and we work things out,” said John Knoke, owner of South Point Plaza.

As for the road, Mayor Wiza is planning to present the council with a new design that will still meet the Wisconsin Department of Transportation minimum standards. But, keep the northern and southern commercial sections four lanes with the center residential section being reduced to two lanes with a turn lane in the middle.

Mayor Wiza plans to have the public vote on the design in the November election.

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