A committee of city leaders in Rhinelander has selected a company to outline an economic development initiative for downtown. The plan from Vierbicher Associates will also look into giving Brown Street a bit of a facelift, by conducting a streetscape study.
Rhinelander City Administrator Blaine Oborn says doing a streetscape…is kind of like landscaping, for a downtown sidewalk.
“They can do brick inlay, and all kinds of customized things on the sidewalk. The idea is if you improve the lookability of a downtown, for instance an area that you want walkability, then it attracts people there and actually increases the value of the property around it.”
Construction on the project is still a few years off; ground breaking is scheduled for 2016. Oborn says one challenge will be correcting out-of-date infrastructure.
“One of the issues that we do have to deal with is called the underbelly…it’s what’s under the street, and that’s where a lot of the problems are. There’s no storm drainage in there, it goes right into the sewer system which is illegal in the state. But when it was built that was what the standard practice was.”
Three companies originally came forward with proposals for the streetscape and economic development plan. A finance committee with more City Council members must also approve the Vierbicher proposal before it moves forward.