The proposed infrastructure plan has outraged the region’s business community
STEVENS POINT, Wisc. (WAOW) – Stevens Point City Council has come up with a proposal to rehabilitate Business Corridor 51 (Division / Church Street), but business owners say it will hurt their jobs.
The proposal has been in the works for more than five years and would change the structure of Company 51. This would include adding medians, removing some lanes and moving to a two-lane highway.
“What you’re going to find is you’ll have a nice two-lane road that they’re going to call a highway scheme,” said Kevin Flatoff, owner of Gold Key Motors. “But, you’re going to have a lot of empty vacant properties and there will be a lot of small businesses that don’t survive this… guaranteed.”
Business owners argue that Business 51’s structural change will attract fewer consumers to the area, saying removing accesses like business aisles will have a huge impact on their customer base.
“I think whoever is using these businesses on the south side has to be aware of what’s going on because it’s going to affect the business, it will literally shut down the business,” said John Knoke, owner of a mall at Stevens Point.
City leaders said that while they supported businesses in the community, safety concerns and road maintenance were behind the need for change.
Mayor Mike Wiza said he was open to hearing their concerns about the project.
“What I want to do is make sure that everyone has the opportunity to voice their concerns and give us and AECOM the opportunity to work with those concerns,” said Wiza.
Council is due to vote on the proposal again on Monday, September 20.