City pitches in to demolish blighted building - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

City pitches in to demolish blighted building

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Community leaders in Wausau said they are looking for ways to add jobs and expand the tax base, so when a man proposed demolishing an old building and replacing it with a new one, they decided to help out.

But some people said they're not happy with the city's choice. 

"I went through so many very long meetings where I presented on this project," said Matt Krasowski. He owns the Century 21 Contempo in Wausau, but plans to relocate to a better location.

"The building is just basically a shell," said Wausau Director of Community Development, Ann Werth. "Everything has been pulled out of it. So it's a blighted building on 17th Avenue."

After being vacant for years, Krasowski said he hopes to bring new life to one of the busiest intersections on the West side.

"The city is here to help us," said Krasowski.

"The city's very excited about the fact that we're going to eliminate another blighted building in the city and create new tax base and jobs for the city of Wausau," said Werth. "

The city of Wausau is lending a hand by providing man-power to demolish the old building. SSome people said they're concerned about their public tax money going towards a privately owned project. But city leaders said that's not the case.

"There are no tax dollars going into this," said Werth. "It's an in-kind service using our public works department within their time frame and they will take down the old building."

Instead of costing tax dollars, the new building could actually make money for the city by increasing the tax base. Another plus -- city leaders said it would add jobs to the area and get rid of a building that is practically falling apart.

Even though city employees are driving the bulldozers, Krasowski has to foot the rest of the bill. And the workers know this isn't their top priority. If enough snow falls, the truck drivers would plow the roads instead. But Krasowski said he's happy for any help he can get.

"They took a small business that was trying to make every end meet to make this project happen and they were the extra little push that I needed to be able to confirm that yes, this can be done," said Krasowski.

City leaders said this isn't the first time they've helped out in situations like this. They also provided labor for the demolition of the old Wausau Mine Company.

With the past three buildings the city has helped re-do, they have increased the tax base by more than a million dollars.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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