The city of Wausau held a public meeting Wednesday night to discuss phase two of construction on Thomas Street. Several dozen people packed city hall in what turned into a heated meeting.
Engineers discussed the design concept for Thomas St. from 4th Ave. to the Wisconsin River Bridge. The design would include the tear down of about a dozen homes, an apartment complex and several businesses. One of the homes that would be torn down belongs to Larry Anklam.
"We moved in 1977," said Anklam. "It's just going to be devastating for us."
Anklam said he doesn't know what he's going to do if he's forced to leave his home.
"We raised our son there... we'd like to finish our life there, but I don't think that's going to happen," said Anklam. "2018 could be pretty devastating if we find out we have to move."
City leaders said there's really no way around having to take down some homes and businesses.
"No matter what we do or what we've looked at, we'd have to widen that corridor at least in certain areas," said Wausau director of public works Eric Lindman.
People spoke out about the project for more than an hour, the biggest complaints were about medians and bike lanes. Residents in the area said the medians would cause them issues getting into their driveway and impact area businesses.
"Why should I be asked to forfeit my property... so you could put a fancy strip of concrete down the center," said Wausau resident Lou Larson.
While many people at the meeting said they were against the bike lanes, Lindman said he's heard support for the lanes around the community.
Construction just finished early November on Thomas St. from 4th Ave. to 17th Ave. Several residents at the meeting said they were unhappy with the medians on that portion of the road and it caused delays for them.
The feedback from residents will be brought before the Wausau capital improvements and street maintenance committee on December 6. They can make changes to the design concept if they want. The design then goes to full council on December 12.