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Wausau committee takes first look at proposed Mill building for south riverfront

By Shereen Siewert,

The Mill rendering. Source: City of Wausau

Wausau’s Parks and Recreation Committee this week had a detailed look at plans to reconstruct a former mill building for a three-season structure on the city’s south riverfront, creating permanent space for farmer’s markets and other events.

The historic sawmill, formerly located at 102 Bridge St., was deconstructed by the city with its wood and other elements placed in storage. The structure was built by Leahy and Beebe in 1883, was purchased in 1893 by Jacob Mortenson, and eventually became Mortenson and Stone Lumber Company.

Parks Director Jamie Polley presented preliminary renderings for the rebuilt structure, which has large doors to create an open-air feel with stalls for a market and indoor restrooms. Some of the wood saved in the deconstruction project, which has been stored at a resident’s rural storage shed, is not suitable for construction, but the plan aims to include as much of the repurposed elements as possible. The city is seeking to move the usable elements to a new space controlled by Wausau, allowing the resident housing the wood to reclaim his shed for personal use.

The design is part of an overall vision for the south riverfront’s eventual redevelopment, which was part of a study performed several years ago. The price estimate for The Mill, if built today, is pegged at about $1.7 million, but that cost could fluctuate depending on when the project moves forward and the specific location chosen. Funding has not been secured.
South riverfront vision rendering. Source: City of Wausau

Dist. 3 Alder Tom Kilian requested that a presentation be held at nearby Island Place, an apartment complex for older residents that would be near the site and most impacted by its development. That way, Kilian said, residents can weigh in on what they like about the plan and identify any potential challenges before they arise.

Dist. 9 Alder Dawn Herbst said she is excited about the prospect and sees it as a potential asset for the riverfront area.

No action was taken at the meeting, as planning continues.

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