By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Members of the city’s plan commission on Tuesday will consider a revised plan to discontinue a portion of McIndoe Street, a closure that will make way for a proposed $40 million downtown development.
The plan to expand the Woodson YMCA and build a downtown clinic is attracting widespread praise and support, but some nearby business owners and residents initially balked at a plan to close a portion of McIndoe Street from First to Third Streets.
In September, Eldon Pagel, chairman of the Cloverbelt Credit Union Board of Directors, said the organization has some concerns about the proposed street closure and the impact it would have on their more than 17,000 members, employees, and future growth. Cloverbelt recently completed a roughly $8 million project to construct a new headquarters building at 110 McIndoe Street and donated the land occupying their previous location as a sign of their support for the YMCA/Aspirus project.
City council members on Sept. 11 approved a resolution to discontinue McIndoe Street from North Third Street to North First Street. But since the resolution was passed, the developer and adjacent owners have agreed to compromise by discontinuing just one block of McIndoe Street, from North Second Street to North Third Street. Under the new plan, the 100 block of McIndoe Street will remain a public way and allow Cloverbelt Credit Union to maintain their street address and their access off of McIndoe Street.
The right of way is owned by the city but the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has jurisdictional control over the roadway. City leaders have received numerous communications from local businesses and residents supporting the plan including a letter signed by more than two dozen local business leaders endorsing the project and supporting the associated road closure.
The developer is in the midst of completing a required traffic analysis at several intersections and traffic counts for the DOT, according to city documents. Because McIndoe Street is part of a connecting highway within the city, the DOT will need to accept a new highway route and release their jurisdictional control over the affected section of McIndoe Street before the council has the authority to vacate the street.
Mayor Robert Mielke said the developer, Ghidorzi, is paying for that study.
“The city has not funded that or anything else in regards for this project,” Mielke wrote, in an email to Wausau Pilot and Review.
The YMCA expansion plan includes extensive modernization of the current facility, constructing a senior activities center and developing a new Aspirus Clinic, which will be connected to the YMCA.