Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

Voice the official Citizen Wausau blog

Is there some sort of Plan?

by on December 28th, 2009

Look, I know there is a Wausau Century Plan, or the 100-Year Plan, or the Used to be A Lumber Town Plan, or the Plan to Keep the Kids at Bay Plan. But really, is there a plan for the City of Wausau, and where can I see it in action?

A few weeks ago my main man Dr. Rent went to a CISM meeting. He reported to me that they essentially gave up on the idea of changing the direction of 3rd Street downtown. Just gave up. No big whoop. We are moving on. Like it was never a thing to do anyway.

How does that work? A city committee puts forth an idea, some study is given to the idea, then some public discussion, and then like it never mattered in the first place, they just stop. Essentially the government says: “Whatever, nevermind!” to an issue. Just a governmental shrug of the shoulders and a big “eh”.

But, if they can just sort of change their mind about something as significant as urban planning, I have to ask, what exactly do these people have the convictions to actually DO?!?

I read the minutes from the December 10th CISM meeting, which was strongly attended by local businesses, and was shocked to find that this has been a discussion since 2005.  The altering of this traffic has been a part of every discussion that involves the pedestrian mall, or downtown parking.  The minutes reflect that.

At the meeting Mr. Marquardt, who I must assume works for the city, talked for a while about the different options, and how this or that would be impacted.  Then it was a parade of business owners all seeming to express their own self-interest.  Which is fine, unto itself. It only borders on not fine when self-interest hinders the common good of the city.  The voices had no agreement on anything.  Some, like Mark Craig, thought parallel parking was the way to go.  He made good points about looking to the future, and how we have had this pedestrian mall in operation for 20 years, and he hoped 30 years from now people would look back and talk about how the vision we had now, worked going forward.

Jane Janke-Johnson stated that she wanted to see the street remain the same, even bringing up some numbers that appeared in the initial debate about the pedestrian mall, the number being that every parking spot is worth $15,000 in retail sales.  No idea where that number comes from, but she brought it up.

There had to be ten or more varied opinions on what was best, but again, they were all opinions based on self-interest.  People with expertise really were missing from this discussion.  Leah Alters from Main Street did a survey of business owners(prior to hitting the highway to Columbus), informally it would appear, and even her results were varied.

So, the idea gets put down.  Nothing happens.  And it leads me to ask: is there any sort of plan to move the city forward, or are we all just throwing darts at a board?  Is there something more at play here than personal interest, and negative Nancys?  How does it come about that something as significant as rerouting traffic to improve or not improve the businesses of downtown is met with so little scrutiny that no experts are brought forth?  No plan is referenced in the minutes of the discussion.  What is the plan, man?!?

Tags & Categories