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New Thomas Street master plan presented to Wausau council

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A map of the proposed new Thomas Street master plan from Graef Engineering (Photo: Raymond Neupert, WSAU)
A map of the proposed new Thomas Street master plan from Graef Engineering (Photo: Raymond Neupert, WSAU)

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wausau city council members and the public got their first look at a proposed master plan for the Thomas Street reconstruction project Monday night.

The new plan authored by Graef Engineering of Green Bay lays out a number of options on how the city could build the new road. The plan would call for either a two lane or four lane reconstruction, with options on how wide to make the right-of-way. The two plans would call for either a 72 or 94 foot right-of-way based on how the city wanted to proceed. Under the new proposal, 59 properties would have to be acquired in full or in part at a cost of about $8 million.

City Council president Lisa Rasmussen is a proponent of acquiring the full right of way no matter if they go two or four lane. "That means we'll already own the land in the future. We won't go back to look at it in the future and go, 'Oops, we need to buy land again.' I'm looking for function, I'm looking for a 30 year solution. I'm looking for something I don't have to build again and again and again."

District 10 Alderperson Sherry Abitz says her residents in the area have had to endure with too many starts and stops already. "I have spoken with other residents and most of them that have businesses there want to remain in the district, so even though they're losing their location they want to remain on Thomas Street. I'd like to see where those businesses might be able to relocate." She says 10 years of planning on the project has tired out residents and forced them to put their lives on hold while the city deliberates on what to do with the region.

Monday night's meeting was an informational session. The proposed master plan will now head to committees for consideration.

(Listen to our interviews with Lisa Rasmussen and Sherry Abitz by clicking their links to the Newsmakers Podcasts section)

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