Community Update – April 28

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Alderperson Orientation            

Last Tuesday the City held an orientation for all Alderpersons.  With three new faces to our City CouncOrientation 7il, the timing was right to generate an orientation for the newly electeds.  Although framed primarily around introducing the newly-elected Alderpersons to their roles on the City Council, the orientation also served as a refresher for all Alderpersons to further acclimate them with City departments, the City organizational structure, open meetings laws and the various related topics.

UWSP Political Science professor Ed Miller joined us at the orientation to speak to the role of Alderpersons on the City Council.  Given the undertaking of the position and sometimOrientation 4es complex nature of the decisions, Professor Miller’s presentation was very informative and provided our Alderpersons a very important foundation. With their primary role as policy makers, some may wonder how to convert ideas into actual policy for the city to consider.   There were also presentations from the City Clerk – discussing the agenda and referral process, and City Attorney – discussing open meetings law, parliamentary issues and preventing liability.  Additionally, a majority of City Department Heads were present.  Individual one-on-one meetings will be set up with Alderpersons and departments in the near future to further expose and educate on how specific departments execute their duties.

I thank all Council members and Staff who were in attendance for the orientation last week. I know first hand how much information is to be learned about city government and an orientation is a great start to that process.  I look forward to working with the newly elected and returning Council members in the coming year!

Mayor’s Council on Beautification

IMG_0256Last Wednesday, I was joined by residents for our second meeting of the Mayor’s Council on Beautification.  The meeting was highly productive, with a great turnout of residents; and projects are already underway!  The group has plans for the 15 long planters, including a partnership to fill them with a local vendor and placement at various visible locations.  There is also inspiring momentum with a hanging flower basket project, which includes hanging 36 planters on lampposts along West Grand Ave. from City Hall to 2nd Street, as well as along 1st and Oak streets.  The “hanging baskets” project has seen community involvement through an “adopt a basket” component (with over 20 of the baskets already committed) and volunteers taking part in the watering of the baskets.  If you or someone you know would like to be involved with the project, please call or email my office to be put in contact with the project coordinators.

The intent and focus of the Mayor’s Council on Beautification is to be action-oriented in identifying potential projects, working to secure project funding through grant opportunities and subsequently scoring and prioritizing projects. Making our city a more attractive place for our current and future residents and businesses. After all, businesses locate in communities that invest in themselves and their appearance. Further, I am proud to see another example of resident-led engagement, this time in beautifying our City. I look forward to what future meetings will bring.  If you’re interested in participating in future meetings, please contact me to be added to the contact list.

Radio Interview on Public Service and Visitors

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to be a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” show to talk about what it is like to run for public office.  I joined Vel Phillips, a Wisconsin-based Attorney and the first woman and African American person to be elected Secretary of State in Wisconsin, to share our experiences on what it’s like to run for public office and the importance of serving in public office as part of an underrepresented class of people.

As a millennial, who chose to run for office, I made the case for the need for those of a generation not widely represented in government to seek the office. The radio show was timely- nominations for fall elections in Wisconsin are open as of last week- and I was honored to offer my experiences and encouragement for anyone thinking about running for public office.  Please follow this link to listen to the radio show.  I encourage anyone interested in serving to reach out to those who are currently serving or have served in public office as sources of information on running- it is a tremendous opportunity, regardless of success.

I also had the pleasure of hosting 22 German Students from Hans Leinberger Gymnasium, Landshut Germany last Thursday.  The students are part of an exchange program with Assumption High School that has been in place since 1994, where students spend three weeks with American partners in Wisconsin Rapids, attend classes at Assumption and go on different field trips around the state.  City Hall was the first destination for the studIMG_0267ents last Thursday, and I had the opportunity to welcome them to Wisconsin Rapids, speak about various City functions and a bit of city history.  As young people, I encouraged them to take action sooner rather than later. I expressed my growing appreciation for the city and world as I became involved in starting a business as well as seeking and holding elected office. The students were full of good questions; I enjoyed answering them and discussing my role as Mayor of this City!

Tribune Building Meetings – Second Round

Last February wrapped up the first phase of the Tribune Building meeting process.  Phase 1 meetings saw as many as 220 individuals taking part in selecting the future adaptive reuse of the building, from idea prioritization to space utilization.  Top recommendations from participants include recreational rentals, a microbrewery, and at least one type of food service.

Phase 2 of the building process officially kicks off this week, meeting on Tuesday, April 29 at 5:30PM at the Centralia Center.  Phase 2 is termed “the design phase” and will reveal the plans imagined by over 500 residents and involve participation in deciding design elements for all of the building’s spaces.  I’m looking forward to our community’s continued participation in the project. If you haven’t attended a meeting, I highly encourage it. Your voice will be heard! Make your mark on this unique redevelopment on our riverfront.

Coffee with the Mayor

On Tuesday, May 6th, I invite you to join me at The Hotel Mead’s Cafe Mulino, from 8:00-9:00AM.  All are welcome to join me for all or just part of the time, for breakfast or coffee, so spread the word to friends and neighbors.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach

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