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Waukesha residents got plenty of excitement in 2016.

From the historic vote that approved the city's access to Lake Michigan water to continued changes in and around the downtown area, there were plenty of stories to be told.

Here's what we at Waukesha Now thought were the top 10 stories of 2016.

1. Panel approves Waukesha's request for Lake Michigan water

Waukesha finally got its water on a historic vote this summer.

City and state officials said in July that the replacement of Waukesha's 10 wells, including seven deep wells drawing radium-contaminated water from a depleted sandstone aquifer, is still several years off. But now that the city's application for Lake Michigan water has been approved, that process is quickly moving forward.

2. The year of road construction projects

Some city officials considered 2016 to be busiest construction year in Waukesha's 170-year history. In May, the city announced six long-running construction projects that cut into virtually every major roadway.

Those projects, some of which were delayed by several weeks, concluded earlier this month. But residents won't get too much of a break – plenty more are scheduled to start next year.

3. Downtown Waukesha continues to evolve

There's usually plenty happening in downtown Waukesha and this year was no exception.

The city approved plans and public financing for a new apartment complex just west of Main and Barstow streets; there were serious talks about redesigning Gaspar Street; and downtown traffic for several months was impeded by major street reconstruction work.

4. Slender Man case rolls on

The long-running Slender Man stabbing case in which two local teenagers stand accused of trying to murder their friend and classmate continues to plod along.

Both defendants, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, this year entered pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect — commonly referred to as an insanity defense — and are scheduled to go to trial, separately, no sooner than next summer, about three years after they were each charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

5. Trump comes to Waukesha

Before he was President-elect Donald Trump, the well-known real estate mogul made a campaign stop at the Waukesha County Expo Center in the city ahead of the November election.

Thousands attended the September rally that also sparked some controversy when a Washington Post reporter was barred from entering.

Trump's running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, also held a rally at the expo center just days after Trump was named the Republican nominee for president.

6. Meijer opens in Waukesha

After a long and arduous approval process that began in 2013, the Waukesha Meijer supercenter opened in August.

Last year, Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer, opened its first four supercenters in Wisconsin in Grafton, Kenosha, Wauwatosa and Oak Creek.

The Waukesha store, 801 E. Sunset Drive, was the second of two new Meijer stores that opened in Wisconsin this year. A Meijer supercenter opened in Sussex earlier this summer. Stores are also being planned in Greenfield and Janesville.

7. Redevelopment of Sunset Drive continues

In addition to the new Meijer, Sunset Drive continues to experience a boom in redevelopment.

At least four new businesses – two restaurants and two retailers – opened this year at the Shoppes at Fox River development, and two new restaurants were recently announced as tenants in a new outbuilding at Sunset Crossings, the property where the former Kmart used to sit.

The restaurants at Sunset Crossings are expected to open next spring.

8. The changing face of Carroll University

Construction, in some form, at Carroll University has essentially been a constant over the past few years, and 2016 was no exception.

This year the college opened a new science center and an environmental education facility, began construction on a new nursing building and completed construction of a pavilion that overlooks the school's football field, Schneider Stadium.

The college also recently announced that it's next president will, for the first time, be a woman. Sara Ray Stoelinga will take over as president when current president Doug Hastad retires in June 2017.

9. Historic Waukesha Blair House to become city's only bed and breakfast

After a prolonged court battle, local couple Bob and Lisa Salb took possession of the city's historic Blair House, 434 Madison St., and have begun to transform the structure into what is expected to be Waukesha's only bed and breakfast.

The Salbs have already poured countless hours into renovating the home, which is also their private residence. Once converted, the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be called the Spring City Bed & Breakfast.

10. Waukesha's Gasthaus restaurant shutters after 33 years

Waukesha's iconic Gasthaus restaurant closed after more than three decades of service this summer about two months after a development at the site, the corner of Silvernail Road and Grandview Boulevard, proposed razing the restaurant to make room for a strip mall.

Those plans were ultimately denied by the city's plan commission, but the loss of the distinctive German eatery reverberated through the Waukesha community.

A subsidiary of Panda Restaurant Group, which was behind the failed development proposal, bought the restaurant from the Weissgerber family for about $1.6 million in June.

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