UPDATE: City hits federal funding roadblock for Thomas St. proje - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: City hits federal funding roadblock for Thomas St. project

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November 8, 2012 - According to a press release from Wausau City Hall, Mayor Jim Tipple will hold a Press Conference about the Thomas Street project today, November 8,  at 4:00 p.m.

WAOW will have more information as it becomes available.


October 26, 2012 - For years, Wausau city officials have wanted to make Thomas St. wider and more efficient.

"In 2006, we hired a consultant to start design work, in 2008, we started purchasing some property along Thomas Street," said Brad Marquardt.

But it doesn't look like they'll be using the approximately one-million dollars in federal funds they were looking for - to complete the project.

"We were hoping to get some of that money to offset some of the construction costs," said Marquardt.

Officials told us construction is expected to cost between four and five million dollars.

The problem comes from ten properties the city purchased on West Thomas Street. Federal Highway Administration officials say the city didn't follow proper guidelines.

FHA officials told us it comes from a number of issues they addressed in a letter to Mayor Jim Tipple.

They say their first concern was that there were no appraisals done on the homes.

Federal officials also told us they were concerned property owners were not told of their rights.

We tried to contact Mayor Jim Tipple but we were told he was not available.

Wausau Public Works officials said they believe the deals were fair.

"Anywhere during the negotiations, any party, either party could have walked away and said that they weren't interested anymore," said Marquardt.

We also tried to speak with people who had already sold their homes to the city, they either didn't want to speak or did not answer.

For now, city officials are still working on getting the funding for the project and hope to start widening the road between 2013 and 2015.

Officials from the FHA told us this issue will not prevent the city from getting other funding for new projects.

According to the letter, the city will be required to submit their requests for federal funding for the next three years and those requests will be reviewed by FHA officials.

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