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Potential Wausau facility demolition detailed

A year from now, the former Wausau factory site could be completely or partially leveled, depending on how the next couple of weeks pan out.

Details of a proposed partial decommission project at the site were laid out at a special Wausau Task Force meeting Wednesday.

Michigan-based Renu Recycling, an investment recovery, recycling and demolition company, applied for an interim use permit from the city to tear down some of the buildings at the former Wausau site.

The only reason Renu will leave some buildings standing is because there’s a potential buyer of the land after Renu’s work is complete. That potential buyer requested some buildings remain.

Renu will appear before the Brainerd Planning Commission at 5 p.m. Tuesday for consideration of the application. There, commission members may ask questions, give feedback and hear in greater detail just how the company plans to tear down the many buildings.

The planning commission will then send a recommendation to the Brainerd City Council. That could be as early as the next meeting May 19.

Should things go as planned, Renu estimates the job will be completed in a year.

The plans are all preliminary, warned City Planner Mark Ostgarden. Renu may still walk away for any reason or if it doesn’t agree with the terms the city sets for decommission.

In a large work plan submitted to the city, Renu detailed some of its plans for tearing down the site.

Ostgarden said there are several issues that will have to be worked on the with planning commission.

There are six issues that will “make or break if Renu will continue,” he said.

One of those issues is just how far underground the foundations will be removed. Renu is proposing removing two feet below ground, while the city is recommending all of it, unless a survey is provided showing what is remaining and where.

Other issues include: the gradation of fill, removal of asphalt, site restoration, building and structure removal and some sort of financial guarantee showing that Renu is capable of finishing the project.

Three other big concerns with the city are noise, dust and vibration. Renu said that each will be monitored, with levels available for city officials to check on.

All levels will be in accordance with OSHA regulation, the company said. Should one read higher than allowed, it will be corrected.

Proposed hours of operation will run from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. There will be about a dozen workers on the site for the most part, but at most two dozen.

Renu hopes to start deconstruction this month.

Before the deconstruction would start, the company plans to auction off any equipment and parts possible that were left behind in the buildings.

Renu said it will hold a town hall meeting for residents to voice concerns before the project starts.

After the work is done, concrete and brick backfill will be crushed and used to fill basement or holes up to one foot below grade level, the company said. The final foot will be dirt, topped off with either straw or left bare.

Ostgarden said staff will recommend to the planning commission that it require all foundation be removed from deep inside the ground, and that native vegetation be planted on the site when done.

The potential buyer of the property after the decommission confirmed the interest with the Dispatch Wednesday, but declined to have the company name public until after the planning commission and city council make their decision on the permit.

Estimation of the cost of a demolition is premature, said City Administrator Patrick Wussow. But the permit will likely cost $15,000.

Should Renu back out of the project, that means efforts will “basically start over,” Wussow said.

JESSIE PERRINE may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at