By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review

The Capital Improvements and Street Maintenance meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, began with comments from three members of the public.

First, Wausau resident Terri Kilian gave comment regarding environmental toxicity in this area and the possible risk to residents, with reference specifically to Riverside park and Thomas Street corridor. She asked the city council and committee to responsibility to act in the best interests of the safety and health of Wausau residents.

Judith Miller, member of Citizens for a Clean Wausau, discussed a recent WXCO interview of Harvard-trained toxicologist Stephen Lester regarding the dioxin issue in Wausau. One of the topics he discussed during the interview is dioxin and its relationship to dust. Dioxin is not a heavy molecule, Lester explained, but rather attaches to particles in the air. Lester asserted once again his belief that the state’s report on toxicity in the soil at Riverside Park is inadequate and incomplete, and more testing needs to be performed.

A third resident requested assistance regarding an alley she and her neighbors must use to access their parking spots and garages. The east-west alley near Jefferson Street and La Salle Street is ill-maintained, very narrow, and steep. Additionally, there is a street parking spot directly across from the alley at the bottom of the hill. Residents fear they may slide into a car parked there. They fear they may lose control in the steep alley and potentially hit a person. She shared that she has already been in two crashes this year in that alley. Currently, four of the seven households who use the alley pay for its snow removal. The resident asked if, given the complexity of the physical aspects of the alley, city officials might consider adding this alley to the other two alleys for which Wausau performs snow removal. She also asked city officials to consider restricting parking in that spot directly across from that alley.

Next, a request was approved to use Community Development Block Grant funds to reconstruct First Street from Short Street to Allen Street.

Finally, a recently-performed stormwater management analysis showed that the city is currently removing less than 39 percent of phosphorus from the Wisconsin river. Proposed changes will likely lead to a future need for the city to remove nearly 70 percent.