Lou Larson. Photo: City of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor,

After sitting on the City Council for just over a year, all these market rate apartments with bottom level storefronts are starting to sound like a broken record. My question to the Economic Development department is, how many of these has the City subsidized in the past 5 years?

Some are still in the building phase, some in the planning – including approximately 140 units planned by WOZ for the downtown. Now more units are in the planning for our Riverfront. When is enough, enough? Is this all we can come up with for our community?

Our riverfront should be developed in a manner where it serves ALL citizens of Wausau. An aquatic center? A community center that offers an affordable place for seniors to gather? Please, let’s get a bit more creative here. How much taxpayer money has been spent on these over the past 5 years? Where is the $2.5 million going to come from? Remember, $3.5 million was authorized for mall demolition and another $1.2 million for street construction just in the past year. Once again are we spending beyond our means for a city of 39,000 people.

Maybe we ought to request an independent study to see if we are over saturating our area with these units.

One other question is, how much money has the city invested in the past 5 years on affordable housing? This is what we should be focusing on. Our small businesses and industries can’t find people to work for them. Would more affordable housing attract common people to Wausau? How are we going to attract working class people for all these storefront jobs when most of the time you need two or three of these jobs to make ends meet? Then you still can’t afford to live upstairs from them.

I’m asked to stay away from social media and news media. I can’t stay silent. Not when I see our tax dollars continuing to go to the top one percent while working class citizens needs continue to be ignored. We have a public service department that’s outdated. Citizens in District 10 are living on streets that are in extreme disrepair with no proper drainage. I could go on and on.

I urge every citizen in Wausau to write your alderperson and voice your opinion on this matter.

Sincerely,

Lou Larson, Alderman District 10