City leaders shut down Business 51 referendum
By Taylor Hale
STEVENS POINT – City leaders voted 1-10, shutting down a referendum focused on keeping sections of the Business 51 corridor four lanes during a meeting on Dec. 20.
Current plans see the roadway being reduced down to two lanes with a center media for pedestrian and driver safety. Alder Jeremy Slowinski first brought the referendum to the table, stating that he felt his peers on the common council were not listening to the public and their wishes to keep Business 51 four lanes.
“I’m embarrassed. We sat here back in October, and we listened to all these people and how they were so upset, and what did you do? You approved it anyway,” Slowinski said.
The reduction in lane sizes has been a concern for businesses owners within the corridor.
Heated conversations took place throughout the meeting, with some guests and local businesses owners speaking out about the purported lack of transparency throughout the project. City leaders noted that several public listening sessions were hosted over the last two years, and various letters and notices were sent to businesses and residents that could be impacted.
“We have come to these meetings for months and haven’t been listened to,” said a local at the meeting. “Hearing and listening are not the same things.”
Some in attendance spoke in favor of the lane reduction, stating it will improve the area’s aesthetic and safety as an entrance to the city.
Several residents announced they will run for aldermanic seats during the meeting, adding they felt they have not been heard by their alders, and they are looking for a change.
To watch the full meeting, visit StevensPoint.com.