Downtown Wausau to revamp its River District - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Downtown Wausau to revamp its River District

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

The Riverfront District in downtown Wausau is going to be cleaned up, and developed.

Wausau city officials announced 15 acres of land will be turned into homes and stores.

The mayor of Wausau says federal money will help pay for the clean-up.

The city plans to make the riverfront a key destination for residents and tourists.

City planners say the revamped property will open up new recreational opportunities on the Wisconsin river.

"One of the things we realized is that if you want to have a first class city then you need to have a first class downtown," said Jim Tipple, Wausau City Mayor.

Officials with the city say that making better use of the river is a step in becoming a first-class downtown.

"You look at cities and they would kill to have a river running through their downtown," added Tipple.

The city bought the 15 acres of land a few years ago for 2.6 million-dollars.

The next step is the cleanup of the area.

The city applied for two grants from the E-P-A to help pay for the work.

"This past year was one of the most competitive grant processes that has ever been held by the E-P-A," said Ann Werth, Community Development Director.

Wausau was awarded two grants totaling $400,000.

City leaders say improving the riverfront will boost the city's economy.

"This is very much an economic development, attractor, both in bringing in our residents and visitors and tourists," added Werth.

Shop owners on the 400 block fear this could take away business from their stores.

City officials say that's not going to happen.

"One of the things that we looked at was what would complement the downtown area, because our downtown area is destination place, and we would like to see the interaction between the two," said Werth.

Officials with the city say it's too early to say exactly what stores might move into what was once filled with manufacturers and a fertilizer plant.

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