The April 24 meeting of the Wausau Common Council was the first meeting where we actually worked on city matters. We did have an organizational meeting on the April 17, but that one was devoted to taking the oath of office, committee assignments, and establishing the council rules. So last night’s meeting was the first that delved into city issues.

The April 24 meeting went along very quickly, many of the items were in the consent agenda, so that just left a few resolutions for the council to discuss and vote on separately. There are a couple items to keep your eye on:

  1. Parking near Athletic Park. I know parking can be a struggle in the neighborhood around Athletic Park during Woodchucks games. The city has entering into a temporary easement agreement with Wilson Hurd to use a vacant lot to provide parking for events at the park. In exchange for the easement, the city will operate and maintain the lot. You’ll find the parking at 311 Winton St, behind the park.
  2. Approval of a Certified Survey Map for 2800 Stewart Avenue: A long time question has been “what is the status of the large lot across from Menards where the Kwik Trip sits”. Originally this was going to be developed into a big box type store but those development plans fell through. The lot has now been subdivided into three parcels with a thoroughfare running through. The goal of the developers is to built a 30,000 square foot office building on the north corner. The survey map is the first step in the process, so I’ll keep an eye on what transpires on that property. Maybe with smaller lot sizes, it will be easier to attract retail or dining to that location.

What I found interesting yesterday was the presentation earlier in the afternoon by Jules West, a University of Wisconsin landscape architect student who developed a vision for what could be on the north part of the riverfront district. This vision was his Senior Capstone Project for his major. The northern half of the riverfront district runs along the east bank of the Wisconsin River from Bridge St to Winton. Currently the site is occupied with industrial and commercial buildings. The capstone project is in no way an indication of what will happen on the property, but it is a vision of the potential for the landscape, and shows a lot of ‘out of the box’ thinking of how his area could be repurposed for community use.

The vision brings together items such as land-use, accessibility, stormwater management, and community attraction to address the needs of commercial, retail, and living space down by the river. I’d love to see some of his elements integrated into the future planning of what the north riverfront area could become.