Community Update: City Vehicles Enhance Efficiency, Making a “Splash” at Mead, Mayors Unite on Healthcare

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 Making a “Splash” at Mead Elementary

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Photo by City of Wisconsin Rapids Multimedia Coordinator Tom Loucks -while sharing a concept of a splash pad to all Mead School students on Tuesday, February 14.

Valentines Day was extra special for students and myself during an assembly at Mead School. I witnessed the smiles and heard the excitement when I presented the news, their neighborhood is going to be the first aquatics site open this summer. 

This event will be followed by several presentations the City will be making in the weeks to come.

Our next meeting on aquatics will be working with the Constitutional Convention Group from Mead Elementary Charter School at City Hall on Monday, February 20.   During this meeting, 24 student representatives from will be able to express their planning and design ideas – an opportunity that will be reflected in tangible community assets they can look upon with pride for years to come.

The City is currently proposing an over 3,000-square-feet splash pad at Mead Field, tentatively proposed to be located just south of the old Mead Pool location. We expect to have this facility constructed and in operation by this summer. Splash or spray pad design can consist of nearly limitless combinations and themes. By definition, they are an aquatic play attraction that has no standing water and serve all ages and abilities.

We also plan for splash play features in the zero-depth entry of the proposed Witter Field aquatics facility, east of the ball diamond where the existing old running track lies. A decorative fountain/splash area would be located outside the aquatics facility fence for aesthetics and possible after-hours use.

Depending upon weather-related factors, construction costs and fundraising progress, the Witter Field aquatics park facility would be completed by either mid-summer of 2018 or the spring of 2019.

City Vehicles Enhance Timely and Efficient Removal of Snow and Ice

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Photo by City of Wisconsin Rapids Multimedia Specialist Travis Plowman – A panoramic view of the new fleet inside the City Garage.

Each winter (and, sometimes, late autumn and early spring!), City of Wisconsin Rapids Street Department crews face the challenge of keeping our communities safe by removing snow and ice in a timely manner. This year, our dedicated Street team members have replaced aging plow and salt-spreading trucks with new vehicles to help them do their jobs more efficiently for the benefit of drivers and pedestrians.

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Photo by City of Wisconsin Rapids Multimedia Specialist Travis Plowman – A new one-ton truck used to plow snow in alleys and parking lots in the city.

Replacements in the City’s fleet of trucks include:

  • Two tandem-axle trucks to facilitate the spreading of salt and sand/salt. These trucks can hold four cubic yards more salt than the older vehicles, which enable drivers to cover more roads and stay on the job longer. In addition, by purchasing these two tandem-axle vehicles, the City was able to reduce its fleet, replacing two single-axle trucks purchased in 1996 and one tandem axle vehicle purchased in 2000, as well.
  • Two one-ton dump trucks to handle plowing in alleys and parking lots. They replace vehicles purchased in 1999 and 2001. The new trucks have stainless steel bodies, which will last longer and not need the same degree of periodic maintenance that the older trucks required.

With these new vehicles come new procedures to further enhance the quality of snow and ice removal. Beginning next fall, Street Department crews will start “pre-wetting” –spraying the de-icing salt with a solution of liquid chemical before spreading on the roadway. Wet salt clings to the road instead of bouncing off or being swept off by traffic, which saves money and minimizes potential environmental problems. Also, pre-wetting moisture dissolves the salt, thereby releasing heat and facilitating the melting process.

These investments in newer, more-efficient, lower-maintenance vehicles mean that Wisconsin Rapids residents and other travelers can be assured that municipal services are on steady footing.

Mayors Unite for National Healthcare Day of Action

Concerned about the health for all of our residents, I am proud to lend my voice to supporting the National Mayors Healthcare Day of Action, on Wednesday, February 22.

The serious impact of losing health care coverage of residents in our city and millions of U.S. citizens – including more than 200,000 Wisconsinites from the catastrophic costs of illness- would have devastating affects on our economy.

Affordable Health Care (ACA) provisions that have received bipartisan support include

  • Insuring children up to the age of 26;
  • Eliminating lifetime and annual limits;
  • Assuring eligibility for insurance coverage, even with pre-existing conditions;
  • Guaranteeing coverage for pregnancy and breast cancer screenings; and
  • Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost.

ACA provisions also enable increased benefits for mental health and substance use disorders.

The economic impacts of ACA repeal on the State of Wisconsin are real, and substantial. Wisconsin’s opposition to the law is projected to cost $678.6 million in tax dollars through the 2017 fiscal year. In addition, repeal of the ACA could again expose our taxpayers to the burden of essentially footing the bill for unpaid emergency room visits.

I stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow U.S. mayors in advocating that our state and national leaders take a measured and responsible approach to health care reform.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Sand Valley Golf Resort Shares it’s future, Accomplished Businesses & Individuals Honored, National 2-1-1 Day

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Sand Valley Golf Resort Highlights Heart of Wisconsin Annual Meeting

Thursday evening’s 2017 Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards provided an exciting overview and preview of developments at Sand Valley Golf Resort, in the Town of Rome.

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Photo submitted by Angela Loucks – Glen Murray, Sand Valley general manager, delivers the keynote address on Thursday night.

Keynote speaker Glen Murray, Sand Valley general manager, delivered a detailed, entertaining and personal address on founder Mike Keiser’s mission to bring “golf as it was meant to be” to the United States. For Sand Valley, this means playing amidst acres of tumbling sand dunes one would expect of Scottish seaside links.

After reminding us that the resort’s first world-class golf course opens to the masses in less than three months, on May 2 , Murray thrilled the audience when he announced that a second course, Mammoth Dunes, crafted by renowned Scottish designer David Kidd is already under construction, to open in 2018. He further revealed that the Keiser organization is so optimistic about prospects for success in central Wisconsin, it has begun planning for a third, par three course at the resort, as a “gateway” venue for beginning and casual golfers. With these additional links will come an expansion of overnight accommodations at Sand Valley.

Murray repeatedly extolled the importance of heartland American hospitality and friendliness as a key to ensuring the resort’s success. He pointed out that these virtues had made an impression on the national and international visitors who already have flocked here, long before the course has opened.

In conclusion, he extended an invitation to all to attend a special Community Day on May 1, the day before the course’s opening. Community members will be treated to tours and be able to play the links.

Attractions such as the Sand Valley Golf Resort generate increased out-of-town traffic and extended-stay tourist visits. These, in turn, produce a multiplier-dollar effect for our South Wood County Airport-Alexander Field and local businesses. We look forward to welcoming the many new visitors and staff Sand Valley will host.

Heart of Wisconsin Annual Awards Spotlight Community Diversity and Innovation

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From health care to recreation, from community engagement to child enrichment, honorees at Thursday evening’s 2017 Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards offered a glimpse of the innovation and diversity that drives progress in our local community.

Photo submitted by Angie Loucks – The Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards dinner Thursday night.

Heart of Wisconsin award winners for 2017

Business of the Year – Aspirus Riverview

Aspirus Riverview earned this honor because of its dedicated leadership in supporting our community, and for its $25 million dollar investment in a new cardiovascular institute, birthing rooms and emergency rooms at the Aspirus Riverview Hospital-Clinic facility.

Innovative Business – Mid-State Technical College

Mid-State Technical College continues to demonstrate its commitment to growing our economy by investing in equipment and programs that prepare their graduates to be top candidates for area businesses. Mid-state has many new programs in the works and continues to boast a 90% placement in jobs for graduates!

Entrepreneur/Developer – BluPlay Cafe

BluPlay Cafe  was honored for enhancing our community’s quality of life across the age spectrum. Doug King and Paula Cammarata have demonstrated creativity in developing this unique combination of café, children’s play area and community gathering place. It has been a great demonstration of community need and fun place for kids and families- always a common site at the café.

Shining Star – Aqua Skiers

The Aqua Skiers impact on our community is measured by the organization’s longtime work in providing free entertainment, conducting learn-to-ski programs and volunteering for other non-profit causes. These achievements are in addition to hosting the 2016 Wisconsin State/Regional Water Ski Show and World Water Ski Show 2016 tournaments.

Community Spirit – Heather and Tim McKellips/Jigsaw Run and Doris Laskowski/A Smile From Lacey

These awardees were recognized for the passion and leadership they have displayed in helping fellow community members. The McKellips’ organized the Jigsaw Run to raise money for autism support programs in Central Wisconsin; proceeds from the 2016 event were donated to the “All Together Children” playground, which will be our area’s only wheelchair- and walker-accessible playground. Doris Laskowski has given back to the community the love and support shown to her and her family during their daughter Lacey’s battle against leukemia by organizing and directing the annual A Smile From Lacey fundraiser.

Citizen of the Year – Maggie Muleski

The Heart of Wisconsin recognized Maggie’s contributions to promoting the community and the economic impact of those efforts, through her leadership in developing and managing the annual Wisconsin State/Regional Water Ski Show Tournament, the world’s largest such event. In 2016, Maggie elevated her efforts, by working to attract and host the 2016 World Water Ski Show Tournament.

Chamber Champion – Shannon Buss

This new award honors a person or business that goes above and beyond to support the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Shannon was cited for his years of leadership with the Heart of Wisconsin, and for his ongoing support and promotion of the organization.

We are grateful that these individuals, companies and organizations call our community “home.” We look to them as inspiration for the creativity and pride that make our area more vibrant and prosperous. The water ski tournaments, in particular, demonstrate the power of special events and attractions such as the soon-to-be-opened Sand Lake Golf Resort in the Town of Rome to generate increased out-of-town traffic and extended-stay tourist visits. These, in turn, produce a multiplier-dollar effect for our local businesses and often South Wood County Airport-Alexander Field is their first point of entry.

Check Wisconsin Rapids Community Media website to see the entire Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Awards event.

National 2-1-1 Day: A Time to Celebrate, Advocate and Volunteer

Photo submitted by Angela Loucks of UWIW – Mayor Zach Vruwink (right) presents the 2017 “2-1-1 Day Proclamation” to Amy Fluno, United Way’s 2-1-1 Program Director, on Monday, February 6, in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall.

Every day of the year, a wide range of people who need essential human services find that help is just a phone call away. By dialing 2-1-1 these individuals can speak to a resource specialist and get all the information they need to address matters such as job training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs, affordable housing options and support groups. The service is free, confidential and available 24/7.

At 2-1-1 call centers across the nation this Saturday, people will celebrate this invaluable information and referral resource, during National 2-1-1 Day. Recognizing the importance of this service to our local community, I have officially proclaimed February 11 as 2-1-1 Day in Wisconsin Rapids.

In Wood County, 2-1-1 is a partnership between United Way of Inner Wisconsin and Marshfield Area United Way, and covers 14 counties from Ashland to Juneau. In 2016, the call center answered 3,866 calls. This program is especially helpful to people whose lives have been affected by emergencies such as the loss of a job or health issues.

The top five needs were:

  • Rent Payment Assistance
  • Food Pantry Information
  • Electric Service Payment Assistance
  • Low Income Housing
  • Gas Money

To learn how you can help celebrate this excellent service; advocate for a family member or friend; or, as a government or non-profit agency, have your programs listed in the 2-1-1 database and/or distribute free materials, call 2-1-1 or 877-947-2211, or visit www.uwiw.org/2-1-1.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: City Honored to Host Statewide Sustainability Initiative Meeting; Polling places change

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City Honored to Host Statewide Sustainability Initiative Meeting

img_0050The City of Wisconsin Rapids was given the honor this past Monday of hosting a gathering of public and non-government officials from across the State, focused on a vision closely aligned with our own: nurturing a healthy community in which residents today and in future generations can thrive and prosper.

As the newest member of the Green Tier Legacy Communities Charter, it meant a lot for Wisconsin Rapids to be the site for this quarterly meeting.

The Charter brings together Wisconsin communities, nonprofit organizations and State of Wisconsin agencies in a partnership that provides participating communities technical assistance for developing and implementing sustainability measures, and acts as a single point of contact for communities to share success stories and best practices. By collaborating, participants are able to move further and faster toward their sustainability goals. Other nongovernmental partners also provide technical assistance.

img_0057Wisconsin Rapids Community Development Director Adam Tegen and I shared how our Downtown Revitalization and Riverfront Redevelopment initiatives contribute to wellness as we plan to enhance and create trails for walking, running and other activities. Our partners from the Healthy People Wood County Initiative and forming Healthy Living Hub, a regional collaborative focused one health outcome- childhood obesity, shared how our community is coming together in new ways to improve health and sustainability.

After an overview of health issues in the State of Wisconsin, attendees then considered the concept of “Health in All Policies” (HIAP) – discovering the practical ways some local governments have incorporated community health into the way they create and execute policies; determining what HIAP could mean for establishing local priorities; and envisioning how we can apply the HIAP framework to our current projects.

By emphasizing achievable benchmarks and raising public awareness, the Green Tier Legacy Communities program parallels our City’s efforts to advance the concept of sustainability. This undertaking goes beyond the traditional focus on environmental issues, important as these certainly are. Sustainability also encompasses who we are and what we represent as a community that is devoted to the well being of all those who may live, work and visit here.

Beyond the aforementioned partnerships and development initiatives, our local results are evidenced in a number of ways:

  • New recreational trails and bike lanes that inspire fitness and exercise; and
  • Adoption of single-stream recycling collection that promotes safe and efficient disposal of recyclable materials, diverting more product from landfills.

The Green Tier Legacy Communities program offers us an exciting opportunity to continue pursuing sustainable quality-of-life outcomes both locally and in collaboration with other communities, and help accelerate our transformation into a preferred destination for prospective employers, workers and tourists.

Take Note of Voting Changes as You Exercise Your Precious Right 

The month of February is fast approaching – and with it, another opportunity to exercise your precious right to help select your City’s leadership.

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-11-18-11-amOn Tuesday, February 21, the position for State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be the only item on the primary ballot. The general election on April 4 will consist of local alderperson seats in odd-numbered districts in Wisconsin Rapids. Alderpersons Joe Zurfluh (District 1), Scott Kellogg (District 3) and Steve Koth (District 5) will run unopposed. Candidates Darren Brinegar and Thaddeus Kubisiak will compete for the District 7 seat being vacated by Jim Stack.

This year will usher in a few changes in voting locations. Due to security concerns, polling places will no longer be located at public school sites. Updated locations are as follows:

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  • Wards 1-10, 22 and 23 vote at the Centralia Center, 220 3rd Avenue South, Wisconsin Rapids.
  • Wards 11-21 and 24 vote at Woodlands/Crossview Church, 1000 East Riverview Expressway, Suite 120, Wisconsin Rapids.

Polling places will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. To locate your ward, contact the City Clerk’s office at 715-421-8200, or visit www.myvote.wi.gov and click the “Find My Polling Place” tab.

Watch a video explaining the new voting locations, here.

Remember: You must be registered to vote. Residents may register at the City Clerk’s office at 444 W. Grand Avenue, any time, or at the polls on Election Day. Eligibility requirements for voter registration and additional voter information available, here.

Voters who are confined to home by illness or age, or who cannot get to the polls on Election Day may obtain absentee ballots at the City Clerk’s office. Absentee ballots must be applied for in writing, and can be cast only at the clerk’s office.

Play your part in the electoral process … cast your ballot this February and in the general election this spring.

Mark your calendars for March 15, for the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum held at Wisconsin Rapids Community Media for candidates running in District 7. 

 

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Enhanced Downtown Facade Improvement Initiative Moves Forward, New Signage to Reduce Truck Traffic Along Baker Street, Learn How We Can Help Drug Endangered Children

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Enhanced Downtown Facade Improvement Initiative Moves Forward

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-2-46-38-pmSometimes, a good idea can benefit from a little rethinking and fine-tuning – and, in the bargain, bring the promise of exciting benefits to the Wisconsin Rapids area.

This was exactly the case during the Finance & Property Committee meeting this past Tuesday evening. Planning & Economic Development Director Adam Tegen presented details of a revamped Downtown Façade Improvement Program that is now approved and ready to go before the Common Council.  Watch the Finance and Property Committee discuss the facade program in this video, here.

The Downtown Façade Improvement Program is designed to stimulate private investment in high-quality building improvements that contribute to the overall strength of our Downtown area as a shopping and dining destination.

revisedwrdowntownfacadeprogramfinal1Under the original proposal in 2014, the City set aside $10,000 for a pilot program to support the enhancements of facades within the Downtown area. This effort ultimately ran into two limitations: restrictive covenants that capped the City participation in any given project to $1,000, and the lack of a consistent funding stream.

After reviewing the previous program with the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce and other City staff, and identifying best practices from other communities throughout the region, we crafted a Façade Improvement Program proposal that is enhanced in several ways:

  • Consistent funding – The yearly allocation of $23,250 will come from the portion of the City room tax that supports economic development. This fund has previously supported such initiatives as last year’s housing study and the Regional Economic Growth Initiative (REGI).
  • Increased flexibility – Instead of being restricted by a dollar amount cap, the City will be allowed to invest up to 50 percent of a project’s cost, up to the yearly allocation, or whatever remains in the program at the time of request.
  • Lower overhead cost – In contrast to the initial program, this program will focus on fewer, but larger projects. By following this guideline, administration costs will be reduced from approximately 37 percent of the annual budget to just 14 percent. 
  • Simplified application form – To encourage participation in the program, the application form has been reduced to two pages, which each applicant will supplement with supporting information to clarify the project.

I was pleased by the positive reception the Finance & Property Committee gave to this new proposal, and I am genuinely excited by the opportunities we may have to put an appealing new “face” on our Downtown area. Thanks to all Chamber of Commerce and City staff who worked as a team to make possible this potential boost to our local economy and quality of life.

New Signage to Reduce Truck Traffic Along Baker Street

01-17-17truckstreetsignsIn an effort to reduce the number of trucks traveling along Baker Street, the Wisconsin Rapids Department of Public Works, in collaboration with the Police Department and elected officials implemented new truck signage along Baker Street, State Highway 54, Spring Street and 1st Street North.

Baker Street is not a truck route, but residents and City officials have reported many trucks using this thoroughfare. The City currently has a truck access route identified along 1st Street North between Jackson and Spring streets for trucks making deliveries to businesses. The updated truck signage is designed to draw attention to the proper routes for truck traffic and clarify any confusion truck drivers may have, by keeping trucks on the state trunk highway and truck access route, instead of wandering onto Baker Street, which is limited to five tons.

01-11-17gis-map-of-truck-routesThis clarification also allows for more consistent enforcement of truck traffic ordinances, when necessary.  The proposed signage is expected to be in place by Friday, January 13.

City officials request that residents notify their family and friends of this updated signage and the weight limit restriction on Baker Street. A copy of the City’s Truck Route Ordinance can be found at: http://www.wirapids.org under ordinances.

Learn How We Can Help Drug Endangered Children

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “A drug endangered child is a person, under the age of 18, who lives in or is exposed to an environment where drugs, including pharmaceuticals, are illegally used, possessed, trafficked, diverted, and/or manufactured and … is at risk of experiencing, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse … medical, educational, emotional, or physical harm … or … is forced to participate in illegal or sexual activity in exchange for drugs or in exchange for money likely to be used to purchase drugs.”

That definition dramatically describes how the upsurge in criminal drug activity puts into harm’s way the most vulnerable members of our community. Now, concerned citizens can take advantage of a unique opportunity to learn how we can protect our youth.

Please consider attending “Drug Endangered Children: Who they are and how we can help them,” Monday, January 23, from 6:00-7:30 p.m., at Woodlands Church, 1000 East Riverview Expressway.

This Wood County Drug Task Force presentation is designed to help parents and guardians, extended family members, and community members gain more knowledge about the plight of drug endangered children; resources that are available to aid these young ones; and what we as individuals and as a community can do to help.

Complimentary dinner will be served beforehand at 5:30 p.m. Children of any age are welcome to participate in supervised activities.

In his role as chair of the Healthy People Wood County Drug Task Force, outgoing Wisconsin Rapids Police Chief Kurt Heuer will be joined by narcotics detective Nate Reblin of the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department, and by Wood County Human Services Department personnel Rebecca Porter and Sarah Arendt.

Guest speaker is Cindy Giese, special agent in charge for the Wausau office of the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation.

This event is made possible by the generous support of Aspirus Riverview Foundation. Registration is required; deadline is Tuesday, January 17. Call Megan Larson at Wood County Health Department at 715-421-8949 or email mlarson@co.wood.wi.us.

Do your part, to become part of the solution!

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Single-Stream Recycling, Christmas Tree and Brush Pickup begin Monday, Honor Crossing Guards During Recognition Week January 16-20

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Single-Stream Recycling Begins in Most Neighborhoods on Monday

img_0228The anticipated changes to our recycling program go into effect in most City neighborhoods next Monday, January 9! Now, residents will be able to conveniently co-mingle all recyclable items inside the new, single-stream recycling carts. The recycling collection will remain on a bi-weekly schedule with collection day remaining the same. We will analyze our efficiency as the service launches before any further changes come into effect. See Tribune article here.

Due to challenges in arriving at an accurate count of img_0235carts, implementation of the program will be delayed for the Tuesday Westside recycling route. We anticipate that the carts will be delivered within the next two months. Until then, residents along this route should leave their recyclables at the curb, where they will be picked up the present, traditional way. The recycling collection will remain on a bi-weekly schedule on your normal day.

For additional information, please access the City’s website at http://www.wirapids.org, call the Garage at 715-421-8218 or watch this video, here or clicking on the image below.

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The new single-stream recycling program will greatly aid in our City’s effort to collect recyclables in a safer, efficient, cost effective manner, and help to ensure greater diversion from landfills, a sustainable and greener future for our community.

Christmas Tree and Brush Pickup

treepickupIn order to maintain quality of life in our City’s neighborhoods & valued service, Street Department crews will be picking up Christmas Trees and brush during the week of January 9-13.

  • Christmas tree pickup: You can place your tree out on the curb starting this Sunday, January 8. Trees should not be bagged, and the cut end must be facing toward the street. Please make sure your tree is clean of decoration, lighting and skirts.
  • Brush pickup: To assist crews, neatly pile your brush by Monday morning, to a size of four feet high, six feet wide and 10 feet long. Piles that exceed size and chipping time limits will be left as a property owner responsibility and expense.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-11-20-02-amPlease note: Crews will make only one trip through the city during the scheduled week and will not repeat brush collection until February. Brush piles left by the City following next week’s collection schedule will be considered in violation of City ordinance and may result in enforcement action.

Let’s work together with City Street Department crews to make this process as safe and efficient as possible!

Honor Crossing Guards During Recognition Week January 16-20

CrossingguardEach day, dedicated adult crossing guards across Wisconsin show up at their assigned crossings to assist students in their journeys to or from school. I invite and encourage you to show your appreciation for these selfless individuals, during Wisconsin Adult Crossing Guard Recognition Week, January 16-20.

In addition to simply saying “Thank you,” as a parent, teacher and/or school administrator, you can more actively celebrate this observance by drawing from a number of special-activity ideas, here.

These ideas can help stimulate your creativity in determining how your school, students, parent organizations and community might show your recognition of, and appreciation for, the adults who serve as crossing guards in your area. Electronic versions of the 2017 Crossing Guard Recognition poster also are available for local printing.

Please take this opportunity to recognize the contributions adult school crossing guards make to the safety of our young ones as they travel to and from school.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Season’s Greetings, Help Map Our City’s Future with Your Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Input

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Season’s Greetings

chirstmas-lightsThe Christmas season is a time when we can gather with our family and friends in bonds of peace and harmony. This is also a time when we share the gifts of generosity and good cheer.

So, as you experience all the happiness this most wonderful time has to offer, let us also this season reflect on all our fellow citizens who volunteer their time to offer moments of grace and comfort to others throughout the year.

I also want to thank City staff for all their hard work throughout the year to make this a better place for all of us to work, live and play.

To each and every resident of the Wisconsin Rapids community, I wish you blessed and joyous holidays.

Help Map Our City’s Future with Your Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Input

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Image Source: Bicycle Transportation Alliance

One of the blessings of the Wisconsin Rapids area is its bounty of natural resources, ideally suited for a wide range of recreational activities. Now, with a few clicks of their fingertips, residents in our community have an opportunity to help determine how to enhance bicycling and walking amenities both here and throughout the 10-county north central Wisconsin region.

The North Central Wisconsin Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan offers an interactive mapping activity that allows participants to provide input on a map about bicycling and walking in the north central Wisconsin region.

You can log in with an email address or anonymously. Route markers allow you to pinpoint routes you like to ride or walk, where you think improvements are needed, or where you would like a path to be created. Point markers allow you to highlight destinations, conflict points and areas where bike parking is needed. Using your email address at login enables you to return to the map and edit your input at a later time, or receive project updates.

Your contributions to this plan can also help the Wisconsin Rapids community prioritize funding, and obtain grants for bicycling and walking improvements.

In addition to Wood County, the North Central Wisconsin Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan takes in Adams, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Oneida and Vilas counties.

I encourage our citizens to take advantage of this unique way to map our City’s future.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Join Santa, Staff and I for City Hall Holiday Open House, Share Your Neighborhood’s Christmas Spirit

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Celebrate the Most Wonderful Time of the Year at City Hall

holiday-partyAs we move deeper into the season of joyous tidings and good cheer, we invite all local residents to join us on Monday, December 19, for our annual City Hall Holiday Open House. This festive event will take place from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m., in the Lobby of City Hall, at 444 W. Grand Avenue.

You’re invited to make your way through City Hall, visit each City department, and learn more about how we serve you and fellow citizens throughout the year. In addition, you and your family will experience a guest appearance from Santa Claus. Mayor’s Youth Council members have also decorated city hall with coloring’s done from schools in our city.

To help share the traditional spirit of giving, we ask that you please consider bringing a donation of food, toys or cash for local food pantries; the Wisconsin Rapids Firefighters Association’s 48th annual Toy Project; The Family Center; and the Boys & Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area. By doing so, you and yours can take home a complimentary photo with Santa.

Share Your Neighborhood’s Christmas Spirit via our App

As we have come to expect each year, Downtown Wisconsin Rapids is aglow with a lively array of Christmas lights this holiday season.

img_0836Now, I invite all residents to do their part to place holiday cheer at their neighbors’ fingertips. Share your own holiday-season experiences, by “pinning” your photos of Christmas light decorations online, via our SeeClickFix app, a reporting application for you on your Smartphone.

Since its introduction, SeeClickFix has enabled citizens to conveniently submit neighborhood concerns from their Smartphone, the Wisconsin Rapids website, in person or over the phone. These issues are then sent automatically to the right official, with the right information, to get the job done – while keeping you in the loop all the way with clear, understandable updates.

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Reporting App.

Sharing your unique images of the season via SeeClickFix is a great way to become more familiar with this valuable online resource … while spreading cheer to family, friends and neighbors.
So, as you drive around this year and take in the festive atmosphere, look for opportunities to create memorable impressions. See, click and post – with your Smartphone.

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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