Wausau State Of The City address details infrastructure and economic development
Friday, April 26, 2019 10:49 a.m. CDT by Chris Conley
Outside the Wausau City Hall main entrance 10/23/2013 copyright 2013 Midwest Communications, Inc.
WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) Infrastructure improvements and economic development opportunities dominated Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke’s third state of the city address.
Speaking at City Hall on Friday morning, the mayor said “the state of the City of Wausau continues to get better.” He announced the city will finish the year with an estimated $1-million surplus, although about one-third of it has already been allocated to road repairs after a difficult winter. The Mayor said snow removal had a large impact on the Public Works portion of the city budget.
The mayor outlined several major road projects that will begin this construction season: the second phase of straightening and widening Thomas Street, rebuilding South 1st Avenue, and work on Townline Road. All three projects will involve detours throughout the summer.
Mayor Mielke repeated his plans to relocate and rebuild the city’s water and sewage treatment plants at a cost of $81-million. “These are the largest assets owned by the city,” he said. “And it is critical to maintain them.” The plant will be relocated from downtown to the city’s far west side. The mayor also said two large pipes that carry water across the Wisconsin River are past their useful life and need to be replaced.
The Mayor said the new, local developers who will take over the Riverlife construction project are a positive development. He hopes construction will resume in June and be finished by late 2020. The city council needs to approve the development changes at their May meeting. The news was less optimistic about the Wausau Center Mall. Mielke said the city is negotiating with a developer that wants to buy the vacant Sears building. But he says the rest of the Wausau Center mall is languishing. He called on the mall owners to either invest in the property to make it viable, or sell it. He said “there is little to no interest on their part.” The Mayor said, “it cannot and will not be the city alone to be the only ones trying to make the Wausau Center Mall work.”
The mayor said Wausau continues to have very high quality of life and a strong economy.