Wausau Riverfront Redevelopment: Grant Funding Assists in Completion of Riverfront Corridor

In late 2013, the city of Wausau received $151,171 in Ready for Reuse grant funding through Wisconsin DNR’s 104(k) revolving loan fund grant for a cleanup at 1010 North 1st Street. The property, one in a string of parcels, was identified along the Wisconsin River as part of a comprehensive riverfront redevelopment strategy. Since then, extensive work along the river corridor has occurred with the goal of bringing business and public access to what was once underused riverfront property.

The site’s history includes lumber production, manufacturing, scrap iron, and automobile parking and storage. The 3.9-acre property is one of six contiguous former industrial riverfront properties totaling 16 acres adjacent to the Wisconsin River that are planned for commercial, residential and/or recreational mixed use redevelopment known as the Riverfront Redevelopment Area.

Cleanup included the removal off-site disposal of PCE-impacted soil. A groundwater monitoring well network was established in the area of PCE release. Groundwater monitoring was performed to demonstrate a stable or receding groundwater plume. The entire site was capped to minimize the potential for direct contact with widespread sporadic PAH and metals impacts to soil.
The Wausau Riverlife Villages project phase 1, which includes $27 million worth of multifamily and mixed use commercial buildings, recently completed all foundation work and is currently on schedule for completion in 2019. Wausau on the Water (WOW) – a $3.5 million family entertainment center with a bar, grill, arcade and laser tag facility – recently celebrated its first anniversary in operation.

The city of Wausau completed phase 1 of the public improvements to the 16 acre Riverlife area which included a river wharf, extensive river’s edge trail connections and plazas/overlooks across the site last year – all of which provided new public access and recreation opportunities. The city is currently bidding phase 2 of those amenities to be completed by fall 2018, which is scheduled to include a concession/market building, rope courses and climbing walls, fitness equipment and other recreational amenities in the new Riverlife Park.

Wausau after

After: Wausau riverfront public access and pedestrian bridge

Wausau before

Before: vacant, overgrown riverfront with no public access

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