Controversy over Washington Village Project - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Controversy over Washington Village Project

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Size and traffic concerns have made the Washington Village project near Washington School in Northwest Rochester controversial from the start.  Now there is growing concern from area construction workers.

Ground has already been broken at the Washington Village development, but some are still not satisfied.

Neighbor Bill Engelking says, "We want to see where the council works for the people, the tax payers, not one developer."

Neighbors in the area were against the project from the beginning over concerns of size and traffic and the controversy continues.

It's a story that's been developing for months now. First we heard from the neighbors and now we hear from the construction workers.

Rochester Coalition for Quality Development spokesman Wes Urevig says, "Our main concern is that quality development is not being adhered to on this project."

The Rochester Coalition for Quality Development took to the street to protest for fair wage and benefit packages, health insurance and apprentice training all of which they say isn't being given to the contractors working on the project.

Urevig says, "It sets a trend of sub-standard wages and benefits and when that happens there really is no protective bottom for a construction worker."

But one contractor we spoke with says that's not the case.

"We do just fine."

Jeremy Thompson is a non-union worker who says he's being paid fairly with more freedom than union workers.

Thompson says, "You can stay on the job longer, get more hours in, make more money that way."

Coalition spokesman Wes Urevig says Thompson might be fine, but that may not be the case for other contractors who have been hired for the job by Weis Builders. Urevig says there is little that can be done with this project but that next time projects like these need to benefit the city as a whole.

Urevig says, "In the future we should look at development as a community development."

Developer Joe Wiess was not available for comment.

On Thursday neighbors in the area will join with the Rochester Coalition for Quality Development to protest the project once more.

Powered by Frankly