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Residents Offer Mixed Opinions On Plan To Save Downtown Wausau Shopping Mall

City May Loan Owner $4M To Keep Mall Open


For the first time, city of Wausau residents had a chance on Monday night to weigh in on a plan to save the community’s struggling downtown mall.

The proposed $4.1 million loan package, which would allow Wausau Center Mall anchor Younkers to move to the spot vacated by JC Penney, was met with a mixed reaction.

At a forum on Monday night, city leaders repeated what they have been told by mall owner CBL Properties: Without the loan, Younkers will leave and the mall will die.

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Wausau resident Debra Ryan said she wasn’t convinced.

“Malls are dying out and you’ve got to look at repurposing it,” said Ryan. “Is it going to become a convention center? Will it become a casino?”

But Wausau resident Bill Graef said the city has no choice.

“The downtown is very viable, and without that mall, I think it would start to deteriorate,” said Graef. “And it’s an important part of this community.”

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said the loan has to be approved by the end of the year. He predicted he will have the votes.