Downtown churches, businesses meet to discuss the future of the River District

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By Emily Boyer with WSAW

The churches of downtown Wausau, want a new recognition-- one that involves business. Religious leaders and business owner met to discuss how they can accomplish that.

Reverend Phillip Schneider of St. Paul's Church of Christ said the churches bring inherent value to downtown Wausau through their charitable works.

In a traditional sense, churches provide help for the homeless, food for food pantries, and a place of safety for those in need.

As the businesses in the River District change, religious leaders in downtown increasingly want to be more involved with how the River District plans to move forward.

Reverend Phillip Schneider has been active in discussion with the Wausau River District organization and he’s hoping more churches come to the table with their own ideas.

“Historically, churches have been a big part of the downtown business area for many years. And if you look, there's a lot of downtown churches. So, it’s important to be engaged in those conversations that are happening that are current and relevant so we as churches can be current and relevant," Rev. Schneider said.

Executive Director of the Wausau River District, Elizabeth Brodek recognized their proposal for action and said it’s always been about how the parts work as a whole.

"This is the heart of our community-- all of those business and entities working together and mixing together makes a very eclectic, woven fabric that we see as the thriving heartbeat of downtown," she said.

Four out of the eight churches in the River District said they support the partnership and discussions with businesses.

Slowly the perception and money making opportunities in downtown are changing--while that seems like something that happens on its own,
its actually-in part-due to religious leaders and business owners meetings and actions. 

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