Downtown plaza construction work complete

Delays of light fixtures, fire feature push opening celebration back to next spring
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

The new downtown plaza in Shawano is pretty much complete, with the exception of lighting, which is expected to be at least a few weeks out, according to City Administrator Eddie Sheppard.

The city had anticipated a completion date of Sept. 1 at the latest for the plaza to be finished, and Sheppard reported Sept. 14 to the Shawano Common Council that everything is ready to go, save the lights. He noted that there have been some people who have already started using the plaza for respites from work, playing music and more.

“Everything pretty much, as far as the construction, is complete,” Sheppard said. “All of the lighting components, all of that stuff, hopefully, is going to start trickling in. We heard we’re going to receive some stuff at the end of September, and hopefully that’ll be the light poles.”

Sheppard noted that after some recent rains, he went out to the plaza and was pleased with the lack of puddles, which he attributed to the good work in pouring concrete. He encouraged the council to check out the plaza and to provide feedback.

“I think the landscaping that they did has really tied it together,” he said.

Sheppard said city officials have been holding numerous discussions about programming at the plaza next year. The lack of lighting has limited some of the things that can be done this year, but there are plans to utilize the plaza as part of the downtown’s Oktoberfest celebration, as well as expand the number of lit Christmas trees for the Festival of Trees that will pop up just after Thanksgiving at Franklin Park.

“We think we have the staff in place now with some of the rearranging we did recently with our parks and recreation program manager and then working to develop other partnerships like the library and the BID (Business Improvement District) and some of these other groups that are going to be able to help us fill that space with various events of all different kinds to make sure we’re programming it and using it, and that it’s not a big, concrete park that’s not being used,” Sheppard said.

The fire feature to be displayed near the Stubborn Brothers Brewing Company has also been delayed, according to Sheppard, who quipped that the shipping label has been made, at least, but it’s unclear when that will arrive and be installed.

Because of the minor delays, Sheppard said plans to dedicate and formally open the plaza will be pushed back to spring 2023, once everything is in place. He noted there are a couple of non-construction related items that need to be sorted out, too.

“It doesn’t have a name yet,” Sheppard said. “The plan is to make sure it’s 100% perfect and then do something really nice in the springtime so we can really show it off.”