Wausau Mayor: City did nothing wrong in Thomas Street project - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau Mayor: City did nothing wrong in Thomas Street project


Wausau city leaders are finally speaking publicly about a construction project. This comes after months of silence on the Thomas Street expansion, which hit a snag with the federal government.

The Federal Highway Administration says the city of Wausau didn't follow proper guidelines when obtaining homes along Thomas Street.

That means the project could miss out on millions of dollars in federal funding. But now, city leaders are saying they did nothing wrong.

A project to expand Thomas Street has been in the works for several years. But now, Wausau city leaders are clarifying where it stands.

"The city has not bought any property in 2012 and will hold off any other property acquisitions until a meeting with the Federal Highway Administration," Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said.

The city bought ten properties along the road. But the FHWA says the city didn't follow proper guidelines, and is ineligible for federal funding to help pay for the project. But city officials say they didn't do anything wrong.

"It's our belief that this issue will be resolved," Tipple said.

Tipple says he plans to meet with federal officials soon. But for those who still own property along Thomas Street, they want some answers.

Ken Schauer owns a business there and right now, it's for sale. But he says uncertainty about the project has made that difficult.

"It'd be good for everyone to know what's going on. It's hard for any business along this corridor to really make plans," Schauer told Newsline 9.

City leaders say they're look at all their options, and plan to work with the FHWA.

"We may be able to show them that we followed appropriate procedure and that we are still eligible for federal funding," Wausau Public Works and Utilities Director Brad Marquardt said.

But the city also has to start thinking about another plan.

"We need to consider alternative fund sources. We need to consider an appeal, we need to consider design alternatives if it comes to that," Wausau City Council President Lisa Rasmussen said.

Schauer just hopes a final decision is made soon. City leaders say they hope to reach some type of resolution with the federal government.

Just ten properties have been purchased by the city so far. But many more need to be bought to make the Thomas Street expansion a reality.

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