Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in learning more about the Tribune Building Project! If your question is not addressed below, feel free to submit it via the box to the right, or call us at 715.423.3863.
What is the Tribune Building Project?

The Tribune Building Project began in December 2012 when Incourage purchased a historic property along the Wisconsin River with the intent that residents would decide the building’s future use(s). From the beginning, this was about more than the building. It represents hope and change for our community, and is a demonstration of a user-centered process toward realizing Incourage’s vision of a community that works well for all people. To date, over 2,000 residents have been engaged in the process through participation in public meetings, tours, Tribune 101 presentations, and classroom and community activities. The Tribune will serve as a community accelerator – accelerating economic growth and opportunity, environmental sustainability, learning, creativity, and connections for community benefit.
Read our informational brochure here>>

What’s going into the Tribune building?

Find out here!

What will the Tribune building look like?

Find out here!

How will the Tribune Building be funded?

Find out here!

How can I contribute to the Tribune?

To donate, visit TribuneBuilding.org/give. In order for Incourage to ask funders outside of our area to invest in the Tribune Building Project and south wood County, we need to show that we, as community members, are willing to invest in ourselves. Your donation is more than simply an investment in a building. It’s an investment in the 2,000+ people who committed time and energy in the process. It’s an investment that represents hope and change. It’s an investment that provides opportunities for education and learning, including support for entrepreneurs. It’s an investment that will breathe new life into our Downtown Riverfront District and be a spark for future development. If you are interested in making a multi-year pledge, please contact us. Every dollar counts. To learn more about other opportunities to further support the Tribune, please contact our office via phone (715.423.3863) or email ([email protected]).

Why is it taking so long?

The Tribune is not a traditional development. In traditional development, the developer makes the decisions and investments (if not made by another private investor(s)), construction takes place, and revenue is used for profit. The process to realize what residents envisioned for use of the Tribune was both a benefit and a challenge. It was a lengthy, inclusive and educational process. Beginning with nearly 1,000 ideas, final components and uses weren’t agreed upon until a year into the process. The ideas had to then be ‘market tested’ to ensure they were not only what residents wanted and viable. From there, an operating model was structured, and fund development/financing efforts commenced. Seeking public and philanthropic funding from outside the community provides a different set of challenges, including: aligning mission interest with project needs, lengthy and varying timelines for application, and desire to see local financial commitment.

The local environment and culture related to Downtown Riverfront District development has also been a challenge. Individual resistance to the project is real. Some of it is public and visible; however, much of it is not visible or transparent to the public. We respect that not everyone will support the Tribune and it may take time for full appreciation of its value. However, we hope that our community is equipped and able to engage in dialogue about difference without engaging in undermining activity. We truly appreciate those who have reached out to ask questions, clarify misinformation and/or engage in a conversation with us.

Why not just tear it down?

Residents attended meetings and made decisions throughout the process. They felt the building’s historic significance, unique architecture and mid-century modern detail were important to honor and preserve. The Tribune Building and its history represents an informed and engaged community.

Why will it cost $14 million?

Compared to new construction, renovating an existing, older building is more expensive, and nearly every inch of the Tribune is designed for specific use. The Tribune will house a welcome center, conference room, microbrewery, makers kitchen, cafe/brewpub, and creative workshop, per residents’ expressed priorities. In addition, the kitchens and microbrewery feature costly equipment. Residents also prioritized a building that was highly sustainable and could be used to educate our community. The Tribune is on track to achieve LEED Gold status – the City’s first LEED certified building. Of the $14M, approximately $4M is allocated to the building and site’s green features.

Since Incourage is a nonprofit and will own the Tribune Building, does that mean the Tribune Building will not pay taxes?

Incourage will pay property taxes to the City of Wisconsin Rapids as required by law. The space in the Tribune that is occupied for business purposes (such as the brewpub and recreational rental) is taxable, as it would be for any other for-profit or non-profit owner.

Whom are the Tribune Building’s partners?

Find out here!

What is Incourage’s commitment to ensuring local companies can participate in the Tribune Building’s construction?

Incourage – together with our construction management team at J.H. Findorff – is committed to utilizing our local workforce and subcontractors as part of the Tribune’s construction.  This could also mean dividing portions of the project to allow more small, local companies to participate. While we recognize this will likely lengthen the process, we believe it will provide greater long-term value to area businesses.

Contractors for Phase 1 of construction included:

  • Altmann Construction Company, Inc., Wisconsin Rapids (Demolition)
  • Current Technologies Inc., Port Edwards (Electrical)
  • Kohls Plumbing & Heating Inc., Vesper (Plumbing)
  • Mavo Systems, Inc., Wausau (Abatement)
  • Tweet-Garot Mechanical Inc., Wisconsin Rapids (Mechanical)
When will construction begin?

The first phase of construction (interior demolition and abatement) was completed in Winter 2015.  We are working to secure all of the funding needed to ensure the building is sustainable for our community long-term.  It is our intent to have a funding mix that minimizes debt.  Once this funding is secured, we will begin additional construction of the building and surrounding site.  We remain committed to realizing the Tribune, and estimate the construction timeline from start to completion will be approximately 12 months.

What is the history of the Tribune Building?

Location: 220 1st Avenue South, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495
Architectural Design: Rowland & Associates, 1958-1959
Construction: Ellis Stone
Original Grand Opening: May 1960
Building size and makeup: 19,868 square feet, two full floors, small third floor mechanical area.
The building’s circular area is not a true circle; rather, it consists of 16 sides.
Over the years, it housed Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune and WFHR 1320AM / WWRW 103.3FM radio stations.

William F. Huffman, former owner and publisher of the Daily Tribune, built the building. He believed firmly in the role of informed and active citizens in a democratic government, which aligns with Incourage’s vision of a connected, engaged community. We view the future of this property and the decision-making process as an extension of Mr. Huffman’s vision.

How do I get involved?

Everyone is welcome, whether or not you have been to previous meetings or involved in the process at all. It’s never too late to get involved! Please join us to learn more about what is happening with the Tribune, and how together we’re shaping the future of the south Wood County area. You can contact us at [email protected] or 715-423-3863 to be included on our email and postal mailing lists to receive invitations and updates! 

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  • Why invest?

    Hear from residents who believe in the Tribune Building Project & have pledged their support. Join them!

  • Give Now

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  • Resident Profile

    Through participation in the Tribune meetings, Dr. Missy Skurzewski-Servant has witnessed the power of collaboration among community members to develop an idea into reality. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    "To make positive improvements in your community you can’t sit on the sidelines; you need to be an active participant," shared Joe & Guadalupe Ancel. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    “There is the old saying ‘it takes a village’. If everyone would become engaged in something they may be passionate about or interested in, they would see the potential and the growth,” Tammy & Sarah Salewski share. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    Joel Kuehnhold has learned how to engage people in developing a sense of pride, ownership, and resilience while making major change in our community. Read More >

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    Leaving Tribune meetings, Layne Cozzolino felt ready to conquer any obstacle. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    Living in Milwaukee didn't stop Mee Yang from attending Tribune meetings. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    People and relationships have inspired Ethan and Val Tonn to become involved with the Tribune project and the community. Read More >

  • Resident Profile

    Through his engagement in the Tribune, Ben Joosten realized the deep connection that can be made when multiple generations work together. Read More >