WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - A major Wausau redevelopment and construction project was notably absent from City Council discussion Tuesday night. That’s the Thomas Street reconstruction project. This is the east-west artery crossing the river in the middle of town that is only two lane and recently lost federal funding due to city mistakes.
City Council President Lisa Rasmussen is one of the council members that is not satisfied with the lack of action on Thomas Street. "The fact remains is that this council owes the residents of Thomas Street and the businesses along Thomas Street looking for some closure and looking to relocate better than what they’re receiving tonight.”
Rasmussen supports going forward with the four lane expansion of Thomas Street with funding from TIF district number six, because she doesn’t want Wausau to repeat the mistakes made several years ago with Bridge Street. "We need to look at it from an emergency management standpoint, from an urban planning standpoint, and from a financial standpoint, because if we underbuild Thomas Street right now and we find that we have to rebuild it in sixteen years like we had to do with Bridge Street, if we have to go out and acquire property again, we're going to be acquiring it at prices in the future that are way higher than they are today.”
The Council President is hoping this can be discussed very soon during a committee of the whole, so a decision can be made and the city and affected residents and businesses can put this issue behind them.
When questioned about TIF #6 funding, Rasmussen says the geographically large development district has more than enough development underway and in planning to handle the cost of Thomas Street. "Even if we remove some property from the tax rolls with Thomas Street, there are so many projects on the docket that generate positive cash flow that TIF #6, I've been assured by our finance director, is healthy and it will get healthier as these other projects come along.”
The council did not discuss or vote on Thomas Street Tuesday night, since the funding failed to get approval at the committee level.