Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Far-Away Place

“We really got everything going in 2003 when we decided to put a parking garage in the downtown area in conjunction with a new office building that today has over 350 people working in it. It has been affectionately called ‘Garage-mahol’ ever since.” Jim Rosenberg, a long time city council member and my tour guide of downtown Wausau, WI (population 38,426) explained to me on our walking tour.

Wausau has always stuck in my mind, from watching the wonderful ads that Wausau Insurance used to run on TV with the local train depot as their background. Do you also remember their, “W-A….USA (in the middle) and then a ‘U’…for Wausau?”
Jim explained to me the origin of the name Wausau, “It is Indian for ‘a far-away place’,”

From that first project, Wausau has completely redone their downtown area with a theater renovation (1350 seats), new condo hotel project, and many historic building restorations.

Recently, Lawrence and Jane Sternberg left a $1 million legacy gift through the local Community Foundation (280 funds--$29 million in assets) for a river walk along the Wisconsin River, which sits adjacent to Wausau’s downtown.

The river is becoming a destination for whitewater enthusiasts, having hosted the Junior Olympics earlier this year.

It was a brisk and informative tour of a very interesting downtown.

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