Wausau Wisconsin

Planning

July 26, 2017

View Near West Side Master Plan (PDF)

Introduction

Wausau Main Street Program and its Economic Restructuring Committee commissioned Schreiber/Anderson Associates, Inc. and BEST Real Estate Group, Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, to prepare a master plan for the West Downtown Neighborhood located on the west side of the Wisconsin River between Stewart Avenue and Elm Street. This plan was adopted by the Common Council on June 10, 2008. Exhibit 1 in the plan shows the planning area for this project which is defined by Elm Street on the north, 4th Avenue on the west, Stewart Avenue on the south, and the Wisconsin River on the east. This exhibit also identifies many of the key businesses that are located in the district. The planning area includes the following existing features:

  • A large part of the planning area is included in the River District BID boundary.
  • Combination of zoning that includes B2 Community Service uses on the west side of the area and B3 General Commercial uses on the east side of the area.
  • A significant inventory of existing, established businesses.
  • Approximately 50/50 ratio between building coverage and open space, parking lots and vacant properties.
  • Typical blocks are characterized by few buildings and parking lots that front on the public street.
  • A nine acre single owner property along river (East Bay).
  • Isolated residential uses on some blocks.
  • A grid street system that includes one way north - south arterial streets (60' ROW) and two way east-west local street (66' ROW). There are also public alleys (20' ROW) on all blocks between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue. Some streets and alleys are in need of repair.
  • Several residential and commercial properties are in poor condition.
  • Lack of visible crosswalks at most intersections.
  • Limited pedestrian and bicycle access to the river.
  • No streetscape or open space amenities.

The Near West Side Neighborhood is an important part of the Wausau CBD Master Plan that was adopted in 2001. Since the adoption of the CBD Master Plan, the City and Wausau Main Street have focused their efforts on the redevelopment and revitalization of the historic Downtown on the east side of the river. In 2005, the City adopted the North Downtown Area Master Plan as a guide for expanding CBD revitalization activities north of the historic Downtown to Bridge Street, on both sides of the river. The Near West Side is the remaining CBD area to be planned. Exhibit 2 in the plan illustrates the relationship of the Near West Side to the Wausau Central Business District. The purpose of this master plan is to provide comprehensive recommendations to guide public and private improvements over the next 15-20 years that will ensure the long-term economic vitality of the Central Business District.