2018-10-04: Uniform Addressing :: A Progress Report
Marathon County CPZ
The steamy temps we had in Marathon County in July and August might almost make you forget the historic snowstorms we endured back in April. But that late snowfall and the lingering frozen ground conditions caused a 3-week delay in the start of Marathon County’s Uniform Addressing project aimed to improve public safety.
Workers from the County’s contractor, Lange Enterprises, began installing new address sign posts and road-name signs on April 30, 2018, for 41 participating municipalities to eliminate:
Roads with similar names
Numbering that is not sequential
Odd and even address numbers on the same side of the road
In an emergency, first responders can lose precious time searching for an address due to confusing numbering or hardto-read address signs.
Lange’s crews started on the east side of the county and have recently crossed the Wisconsin River, providing each property in participating municipalities with a unique, 6-digit address sign, as well as replacing street signs to reflect changed road names.
This Uniform Addressing project has been one of the biggest, most coordinated communication efforts in Marathon County, as a project of this geographic magnitude touches EVERY property owner of EVERY home or business in 41 Marathon County towns and villages. And even if your address isn’t one that is being changed, chances are someone you know — or a place you do business with — is. That means maps, mailing lists, databases, and customer and client contact information in computer systems around the world will need to be updated with these address changes throughout Marathon County. Local government staff have reached out to a contact inside Google to make the company aware of this change to over 20,000 addresses and 600+ road names that will affect the Google Maps app.
COOPERATION & COMMUNICATION
Countless public and private entities united in a common good have demonstrated professionalism and a spirit of cooperation in working to complete this enormous public safety project for Marathon County. In addition, government officials and department heads countywide have come together in a coordinated effort to keep staff and elected officers abreast of the project internally, as well as to ensure that the public — and the media — have been informed of new developments in a timely fashion via:
- Press releases;
- TV, newspaper, and radio interviews;
- Articles in Marathon County’s eNewsletter;
- Announcement postcards and other mailings to property owners;
- Presentations at public meetings and Q & A programs at the Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce;
- Marathon County Public Library staff across the county specially trained on the topic;
- Quick Reference Guides for residents and businesses (available online and at all 9 area Marathon County Public Library locations);
- The project’s dedicated website: www.MyMarathonCountyAddress.org (which can be translated into Hmong or Spanish at the click of a button on the homepage);
- and more.
Staff at Diggers Hotline; the United States Postal Service; Lange Enterprises; and the Marathon County Conservation, Planning, & Zoning Department continue to work with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that address signs are installed at the correct location at the appropriate time — taking fire department district lines into consideration as an added safety precaution.
RESOURCES & ASSISTANCE
Staff throughout the Marathon County Public Library system have been phenomenal with assisting residents affected by this project. As each new batch of Official Notices of address change is mailed, approximately 500 to 1,500 residents at a time are learning their new address and having to update all of their contact information with various entities. Library staff countywide have already assisted hundreds of individuals — in person, on the phone, and via web chat — with understanding the project and with updating their new address.
Informational workshops have been held at the Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce, and both a residential and business version of the County’s Quick Reference Guide (PDF) was written to include frequently asked questions (FAQs), tips, and handy checklists.
To assist with package delivery, downloadable address range data files for the 16 eastern municipalities, as well as municipalities in the southwest quadrant of county (south of Hwy 29 and west of the Wisconsin River), have been made available online for businesses that utilize address range data (e.g., delivery drivers).
Finally, an old vs. new address cross-checking tool was added to the Uniform Addressing website — www.MyMarathonCountyAddress.org to help businesses update their databases and to assist individuals with finding friends’ and relatives’ new addresses. The search tool includes all Marathon County addresses that have already received their Official Notice of address change. (NOTE: Not all addresses have been released; notices are sent out in batches to property owners several weeks before sign installation is scheduled for a given municipality.)
Of the 41 Marathon County towns and villages currently participating in the project, not all will likely receive their new address by the time the ground freezes and the snow flies again. Crews will work to complete as many municipalities as they can by November 2018.
Marathon County will make an official announcement later this fall on the project’s implementation status. Residents and businesses should watch for project-end announcements in the media and continue to visit www.MyMarathonCountyAddress.org to view updates, address-change checklists, status maps, and more.