Wausau gathers input from Thomas Street residents on future housing projects

wausau thomas street housing meeting

Roughly three dozen residents gave their input Monday night at GD Jones Elementary School on what type of housing they would like to see on leftover parcels from the Thomas Street reconstruction. 

The city working with a consultant gave residents a 50-minute in-person preference survey, showing various buildings, driveway or street types, or sought reactions to phrases such as “non-profit developer” or “affordable housing.” 

Residents then were able to ask questions, though the input is meant to shape what the city will ultimately do with parcels leftover from the controversial Thomas Street reconstruction project. Improper handling of the project years ago led to a loss of federal funds, delaying the project for years. The city under Mayor Robert Mielke finally completed the project. 

Housing projects the city bid out after the project was completed brought condemnation from Thomas Street area residents because they didn’t fit with the neighborhood and were said to be unaffordable. 

Community Development Director Liz Brodek says that the plan now is to use grant sources such as ARPA to build single family homes and sell them at affordable rates to low-income residents on remaining “remnant parcels.” The city would find some way to ensure they wouldn’t just be flipped for a profit, though those details have yet to be worked out. 

Brodek says more meetings are planned, and the city plans to reach out to the hispanic population in the city as well.