City spends $100K on median with birds - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

City spends $100K on median with birds

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A landscaping project in the middle of a busy Wausau intersection is dividing more than traffic. Some people are upset the city spent thousands of dollars on metal bird sculptures, all to decorate the Stewart Avenue median.

A sign on the way into Wausau boasts of a bird friendly town. But a new flock just arrived and they're ruffling feathers. Some people say the new metal birds in the Stewart Avenue median are not ok.

"I find them honestly to be eye sore," said James Deroos, a Wausau resident.

According to Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, the city paid a local artist about $1,800 for each bird.

He says the price tag for the sculptures and the landscaping will be $112,000.

"It made sense rather than just have grass and weeds growing up on the median. Somebody came up with an idea to put some art project there," said Tipple.

He says about six other local companies have been contracted to work on the project. Mayor Tipple says money from a special taxing district is funding the project.

"It did not come from the tax rolls. It came from the tax increment finance district," said Tipple.

Many people do like the project.

"I think they're absolutely beautiful. I noticed them first thing when they were putting them in and I really like them," said Lana Wegman, a Wausau resident.

The Mayor says he is one of the projects biggest fans but he knows not everyone is happy.

"We're paid to make decisions for the better of the community and you're never going to get everybody to agree on a certain project," said Tipple.

Weather permitting, the project should be completed by the end of the week.

Love them or not, the birds are staying through the winter.

The city is still considering a similar project in the median on the other side of the highway. The city has already set aside an additional $100,000 for a similar project in the median on the other side of the highway. The Mayor says unless the money is taken out of the budget at the end of November, spring will likely bring more birds to another median.

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