Antigo leaders want to revitalize downtown, create jobs - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Antigo leaders want to revitalize downtown, create jobs

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

ANTIGO (WAOW) -- Antigo city leaders are considering a project that could bring more jobs into their downtown. They said tearing some buildings down could help business go up.

City leaders said it's a project they've been working on over the past two years and this summer, they plan to revitalize downtown from the ground up.

"There's a lot of old buildings around here that are just being used for nothing. I mean why not turn them into more business, you know? And make more jobs out of it," said Michael Scott, who lives in Antigo.

The plan includes tearing down some blighted buildings, like the one on the corner of Superior Street and 6th Avenue. In its place, they'd build a new two-story office building with room for other stores alongside it.

"Once it's completed, it'll transform that entire part of the community," said City Administrator Dale Soumis.

Council members hoped to talk about this project at Wednesday night's meeting, but had to postpone because of bad weather. Now, the council will take up the issue after next month's meeting on April 13th.

"When we get done with this project, we will actually have all the landscaping and the neighborhood area will look very attractive because we have four buildings that we're planning on taking down along with this," said Soumis.

City leaders said even though the price tag looks high, at about $1.2 million, tax payers don't need to worry about footing the bill.

"The monies that the developer pays into taxes and in this case, roughly $40,000 a year, will go towards paying for the project costs," said Soumis.

That, matched with state grants, could provide funding for the entire project. And once it's paid for, money from taxes on the new businesses would stay within the community.

Even though city leaders said they've worked through the plan, doubters still linger around Antigo.

"You can't please everybody," said Soumis. "And not everybody understands what it takes either."

But others around town said they hope this new investment will pay off.

"It is a lot of money when you look at it from a small guy's point of view but really, it'll renovate the town," said Scott. "It'll help. So you gotta spend money to make money."

This plan isn't set in stone quite yet. Before anything happens, city leaders need to come to an agreement with the contractors and make sure they have the grant money. But if everything goes according to their plan, city leaders said they hope to have the new buildings ready by the end of August.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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