Community Update – Update on Downtown revitalization, MC Sports project moves ahead

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Community Update – MC Sports project moves ahead, Update on Downtown revitalization

IMG_2567Tangible progress to revitalize the Wisconsin Rapids Downtown District manifested itself on Monday, February 29. That’s when City crews started demolished the former Spath and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) office buildings.

Spath Demolition

Along with other City and Wood County representatives. I took a ceremonial sledgehammer swing to signify the beginning of the end for these buildings, which were dilapidated and had outlived their useful life.

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Watch a time lapse of the demolition.

The work will clear space on a triangle-shaped block near the corner of First Street North and Market Street, across from the Wood County Courthouse. Last year, the City bought the Spath and USDA buildings, along with land on the other side of the block, which includes the former Good Time Charlie’s Sports Bar.

We don’t want to be landlords, or to own the site; we want to get it in the hands of developers who will commit to building a multi-story, multi-use structure that might possibly hold apartments, offices, retail space and restaurants. This summer, we will begin in earnest to recruit a potential developer, as well as identify potential tenants.

In the meantime, work will continue on several fronts to make Downtown redevelopment a reality:

  • City crews have completed cleaning up the Spath and USDA building.
  • Environmental issues posed by an underground storage tank will be identified.
  • Adam Tegen, Director of Planning & Economic Development, has submitted a Site Assessment Grant request in the amount of $160,000 to support the demolition and environmental assessment of the Good Time Charlie’s building. We expect to hear a response by mid-April.
  • Closing on Good Time Charlie’s should take place in May. After that will seek proposals from contractors to demolish the building. Once the building has been removed, full-service engineering consultant Robert E. Lee & Associates will perform an environmental assessment.
  • Continue negotiations with the County for the acquisition of the former County Annex property.
  • We will continue to pursue purchase of the 4 Stools and Geibert Building properties.
  • The Comprehensive Housing Study now under way will be completed over the next 30 days to identify the potential for housing downtown.

image1[1]This Downtown District revitalization project fits into the long-term plans that previous Wisconsin Rapids administrations had developed for the city. It’s up to us as current leaders to make those plans a reality. Without our stepping in, these buildings would have been on the market for years, maintaining a look of yesterday and decline. Taking over and tearing down these properties literally clears the way to foster development in the area. This helps the City, and current and potential employers, to attract the rowing number of people who desire more urban areas where they can walk to get the goods and services they need.

I would love to hear from anyone who has an interest in developing the Downtown District area, renting space for a business or renting an apartment. Reply to this email, call or visit my office.

MC Sports project moves ahead

As your mayor, I was pleased to share in the news that Wisconsin Rapids will soon welcome merchandiser MC Sports to the community.

Equally gratifying, is that the store will be located at 2211 Eighth Street S., in the former Staples building that had been vacant since May of 2014. This property covers Staplesapproximately 24,000 square feet.

MC Sports contractors have submitted permit applications for the building and electrical work, which were issued as of March 1. Combined cost of work to be performed under the two permits is estimated at around $400,000. The company has not provided a time frame for completing the work at this point, but will rely on local review and inspections to help facilitate the process.

MC Sports furnishes quality sports equipment, footwear and apparel, at 75 stores throughout Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. As I noted at the time of the announcement, we are very pleased that a gap in our retail options will now be filled. MC Sports will be a welcome tenant and addition to our Eighth Street business corridor. We are also excited by the knowledge that MC Sports is a “good sport” when it come to supporting the communities where it does business, through team sponsorships, fund raising programs, team and group discounts, and a long-standing commitment to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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