By Barbara Young:
The worn out welcome mat that was the abandoned old Leevers marketplace is currently under demolition with new plans for Menomonie’s doorstep.
No Mercy Excavating began the destruction of the site by pulling out recyclable materials from the interior this past December, but true demolition began on Feb.10.
“We anticipate it will take approximately six weeks to remove the building,” said Randy Eide, Menomonie’s director of Public Works.
What will fill the empty lot at the end of demolition has been debated among University of Wisconsin–Stout and Menomonie residents. Several ideas have been discussed, but Eide says, “we anticipate a multi-use facility to be built on the site where the existing building sits.”
The new building will be a mix of residential space and commercial space; the bottom floor will be for shopping/eating while the 2nd and 3rd floors will have town homes and one or two room apartments. There are hopes that those working and attending school at UW–Stout will use these living spaces.
“The City Council has approved the general plan,” said Eide. The agreement proposed by Broad Street Menomonie has yet to be finalized with the developer and no timeline currently exists.
With all the speculation among UW–Stout students, rumors on what will be moving into the space have spread all throughout campus.
Kori Klaustermeier, a Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management sophomore, said, “I think apartments would be a nice addition, but another cafe in the area would be nice, too, as another hangout for UW–Stout students.”
Freshman Sam Bauer, a psychology major, was thinking along similar lines, with a creative twist when he said, “It would be totally tubular if they put in a retro diner. It would be like iCarly or something.”
Elizabeth Merrill, a senior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, seems to have heard the right rumor. “I thought at one point I heard they were going to build a hotel that would be run by the Hotel Management majors as their lab, with a restaurant in the floor level. I would also love to see some other restaurants come in. Chipotle for sure!”
Derek Woellner, a junior studying Professional Communication and Emerging Media said, “I think a co-op would be a good idea, but a community garden would be even cooler.”
While opinions on the best use for the space vary among students, city officials continue to work on making up their minds.