By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Residents are getting a first look at initial design ideas for the streets surrounding the Wausau Center mall, part of an effort to breathe new life into the struggling shopping center.

City leaders in June selected Toole Design Group to study the streets, lighting and landscaping in the south downtown area around Wausau Center. Toole, one of nine consultants that responded to a request for proposals for the study, will be paid $50,000 for their work, according to city documents.

The workshop study includes an evaluation of circulation and parking patterns around the mall, an assessment of the conditions along Forest and Washington Streets and a look at the feel of the materials proposed for the streetscape experience.

Cindy Zerger, Minneapolis deputy office director for Toole Deisign, said the company is looking for ways to improve traffic flow around the mall. So far, that includes proposals to change some one-way streets to two-way streets to better direct traffic to the mall. Consultants are also studying the possibility of a roundabout at Forest Street and Grand Avenue.

One idea being floated is carving some streets through the current mall footprint to create a more modern, open air design, with increased pedestrian access. Open air malls have become increasingly popular ways to reinvent malls as retail and shopping attitudes and preferences have changed.

This week, the public is invited to stop by Wausau Center to learn about the project and provide ideas on design elements. An “open studio” is happening Wednesday, Sept. 26 until 8 p.m. and a public meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Zerger said the consultant group is eager to hear input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders and will present their final recommendations on Oct. 18 during a public meeting at Wausau Center.

The open studio and public meetings are being held in the space next to the former Sears anchor store.

13 replies on “Wausau gets first look at mall-area street redesign ideas”

  1. The mall’s are a eighty’s thing, use the mall building for something else. Expand the jail, office space for attorneys, just a thought.

  2. Not to beat a dead horse, but just wondering how and where the city publicized the meeting? I dug and found it on the City website, but I am wondering if they sent out a press release

  3. So we (the city of Wausau) just spent *someone’s* money………to the tune of $50K….. to “try to direct traffic” to the freaking DEAD AS A DOORKNOB mall?? Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!
    This just gets more asinine with each passing day. In the meantime, if you drive around Wausau, don’t even TRY to tell me that there aren’t at least……oh……20-30 streets that sorely need repair/resurfacing. But hey, let’s spend tens of thousands of dollars (no matter where the money came from) on figuring out how to get people to drive past a 70% empty mall. There isn’t a facepalm big enough.

    1. 911 you are smart…50k down the drain for what? We could have hired our own to have on staff for that type of money. Well maybe they would want 100k to be on staff but you get the point.

      Remember when we paid someone a crazy amount of money to come with our terrible city logo? Or possibly marathon county logo? I think we spend 10’s of thousands for someone to design it (outside of our state or city). When we could have easily had a contest for someone at our local tech or heck even high schoolers that would have cost ZERO! It’s this old school thinking that city leaders have this city falling apart. We ended up with something a middle school kid could have made.

      Oh and the rusty birds on the Westside?

      Oh and all of the money tipple lost on the Thomas street construction?

  4. Bouncing from one useless failed development to the other. Maybe tax payers will not notice the millions we keep wasting on unwanted projects and locations with charlatans to please the antiquated businesses of the downtown clique.The last consultant told the city to build a new city downtown.

  5. “In conclusion, the goal is to improve traffic, but the ultimate goal is revitalize Wausau Center to a place that better matches the current retail style, has more green spaces, and one that connects a community.” So let’s focus on moving forward!

  6. Ok let’s focus on moving forward, most if not all city’s run managed by democrats run in the red on the financial ledgers. Milwaukee, Detroit, Wausau and I must include the state of California, voters wake up.

  7. The city web site it describes the job of the city engineer as the person responsible for street design, and also has a planning department who is to work with the engineer and other departments to keep abreast of the cities master plan.Instead of going outside can’t the current employees come up with a design with the help of residents. Why have these departments if they can’t perform!

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