Letter: Reader opposed to August referendum

Editor’s note: This letter was previously published with an inaccurate title. We apologize for the error and have corrected it.

To the Editor-

My five-year-old twins love riding their two-wheelers. Admittedly, watching Jack, my wild one, swerve from side to side is akin to watching someone who has had too much to drink stumble home at bar time. Yet his inability to ride a straight line does not deter him from wanting to bike all the time and everywhere.


Last month we trekked across town to the bank so the boys could deposit the contents of their piggy bank. This involved riding down Division Street for several blocks. To do so was, for lack of a better word, harrowing. Edge an elbow too far into the roadway is to lose it. With approximately six inches off the shoulder, Jack had no room for error. I feared he would swerve too far and wind up in the street, crushed by the busy traffic. The trip left me so rattled I had to sit down after to calm my nerves. Needless to say, we took the long way home.

AECOM, a world-renowned infrastructure planning company that provides services for the U.S. Air Force and was ranked #1 in Forbes as the world’s most admired company, has developed a proposal to make Business 51 safer. This company has spent years conducting studies for the city of Stevens Point and gathering input from its residents in order to design Business 51 to make it safer for pedestrians and less congested (and free of potholes).

The upcoming August 9 referendum would put any decisions about transportation projects over one million dollars to the voters. This is a bureaucratic nightmare. While voter input is always welcome at the committee level, voters should trust the expertise of AECOM to ultimately plan our roadways. And while the prevailing argument is that following through with this proposal would mean an end to Business 51, the “Keep Church Four Lanes” group is playing on our fears. This group, unlike AECOM, has neglected to conduct studies on the issue. A closer examination of their motivations would actually find they have a major financial incentive to maintain the status quo.

From a fiscal standpoint, moving forward with the Business 51 proposal as is would allow the city to keep the 3.5 million dollar grant awarded by the state. Further delays may cost taxpayers dearly as the grant requires the city to meet certain roadway criteria. If the city doesn’t meet the criteria, the grant will disappear, leaving the burden all on taxpayers.

Let’s protect our most vulnerable residents by making the roadway safer, trust the experts to do their jobs, and do what is fiscally responsible. Vote NO on the August 9 local referendum.

Jennifer White
Stevens Point

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