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Wausau studying options for the future of the city's riverfront

Wausau riverfront
Isak Dinesen
WAOW Television
Wausau riverfront

Wausau is looking into plans to further develop its riverfront north of Bridge Street.

City council approved a resolution Tuesday by a 7-4 vote to start the process of hiring a consulting firm that would help the city make plans for what could be developed on city-owned lots.

The area they're looking to target is north of Bridge Street and west of 6th Street, which includes the site of the former Wausau Water Treatment facility.

District 4 alder Tom Neal said some action is better than no action, and adds it's worth taking in as much information as possible.

"We really need to take this opportunity to get a handle on it so we get more information, more intelligence, and be better able to work with future developers who will also benefit from this information," Neal said.

Council president and District 7 alder Lisa Rasmussen said economic development needs to be one of the city's top priorities and a strong riverfront will help further the city's growth.

"We've done an awful lot of master plans and we follow them, but I think that's the way you get responsible growth and still maintain those spaces that you want for the community to access so that your riverfront doesn't feel like someone's front lawn where they don't belong," Rasmussen said.

Wausau plans to spend up to $100,000 on that consulting firm, but District 11 alder Chad Henke pointed out the city is not obligated to spend that money if they don't find a firm whose vision aligns with their goals.

This comes just under a year after plans for a proposed concert venue for the neighborhood near Athletic Park were scrapped.

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