Business 51 project plans approved by city leaders
By Taylor Hale
STEVENS POINT – City leaders voted 9-1 to approve 30 percent of the design phase for the Business 51 corridor, with Alder Jeremy Slowinski voting against the project plans. The decision was made at a common council meeting on Sept. 20.
The project involves a complete reconstruction of the thoroughfare running down Division and Church Street, including taking four-lane sections down to two, removing some driveways, and adding medians. Bike lanes would also be featured on Division Street, along with a roundabout on Fourth Avenue, near downtown.
More than 100 attendees came out to voice their thoughts on the plans, with the bulk of speakers mentioning their hesitation towards the changes, stating that they will negatively impact businesses and residences on the street by bottlenecking traffic and creating roadway congestion.
Mayor Mike Wiza said with a project as complex and large-scale as the roughly $48 million Business 51 redesign, differences in beliefs will occur.
“We want to try and be as respectful as possible of everybody’s opinions whether or not you choose to agree with them,” Wiza said during a heated moment during the meeting after city alders spoke out of order.
The meeting went on for more than five hours, with the bulk of the conversation centered on the redesign project.
Engineering firm AECOM now moves forward with creating plans for infrastructural work and what effects the plans will have on specific properties on business on the roadway. AECOM will return next year to offer the public insights on further plans, though construction is not slated to begin until roughly 2024.
To watch the full common council meeting, visit stevenspoint.com.