Community Update – Chickens, Blossom Fest, Trees and Street Re-Opening

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Raising Chickens In Wisconsin Rapids            

Earlier this month, at the request of residents, the City took the first step to consider an ordinance allowing residents to raise chickens within City limits.  The recommendation  from the Finance and Property committee will go to City Council this evening for full Council consideration and possible adoption.

Residential-chicken ordinances are not unique just to rural areas.  As the multitude of sites dedicated to City-raised chickens demonstrate, both rural and urban municipalities have seen a movement toward raising chickens for pets, food and even keeping bugs at bay.  In Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee has adopted an ordinance allowing the keeping of up to 4 chickens per residential premises.  More locally, Nekoosa and Stevens Point also have ordinances allowing residential raising of chickens.  Although there are questions and concerns surrounding invoking such an ordinance, many of these concerns are alleviated with rules around care, coop regulation and design and ultimately effective city ordinance enforcement.

If you have any questions or concerns, or just want to learn more, I encourage you to contact the Citizens for a Clean Green and Welcoming Community, who have been coordinating the effort to bring this ordinance to Wisconsin Rapids.

Blossom Fest 

blossomfestThis Thursday marks the start of the 2014 Cranberry Blossom Festival!  Set to run June 19-22 and feature more than 20 events including live music, cranberry blossom tours, culinary treats and our parade. This year’s Blossom Fest is sure to have something for everyone.  Some of the featured events taking place during blossom fest include:

  • Downtown Classic Cinema Under the Stars– Thursday 6/19 @ 7:30PM on West Grand Avenue
    • Family, friends and kids of all ages can enjoy a free movie under the stars.
  • June Dairy & Berry Breakfast– Friday 6/20 @ 6:00-10:30AM at LHS
    • Held at Lincoln High School, enjoy a dairy breakfast with cranberry flair, and the chance to take a dairy farm tour.
  • Arts, Crafts and Cranberries Fair– Saturday 6/21 @ 10:00AM-4:00PM, Witter Field
    • This outdoor event features crafts, framed art, pottery and many cranberry themed products, sure to have something to interest everyone.
  • Cranberry Blossom Festival Carnival– Beginning Friday, Witter Field
    • The carnival comes back again this year!  Throughout the weekend, adults, families and kids of all ages can enjoy carnival rides, games and food at the Cranberry Blossom Carnival at Witter Field.
  • Cranberry Blossom Fest Parade– Sunday 6/22 @ 12:00PM, Downtown
    • The weekend events come to an end with the grand Cranberry Blossom Fest Parade along Grand Avenue.

I look forward to seeing you June 19-22.  Visit Blossomfest.com for full details on all the events taking place during the event.

Hopa Tree Planting/Beautification Council

Over the last few months, residents have been meeting for the Mayor’s Council on Beautification.  The meetings have been highly productive, with a great turnout of residents; with several projects already underway!  Driving by City entrances as well as along West Grand Avenue, you may have seen the long planters placed with flowers adding a touch of color to our streetscape.

flowerbasketsWe also saw inspiring momentum with the hanging flower basket project, led by members of the Beautification Council, 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 all of the baskets already committed!) and volunteers taking part in the watering of the baskets.  The baskets are up already along West Grand Avenue, and will be installed along 1st and Oak Streets, with the goal of coinciding with Blossom Fest.  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 next event for the Mayor’s Council on Beautification includes planting flowering Trees along hopathe river, where Hopa Trees previously lined the river.  This Thursday, June 19 at 4:30PM, a tree planting event is set to take place at the intersection of 1st Street S. and Johnson Street (near the Tribune Building).  A shortened Beautification meeting will follow shortly after.  This Thursday’s event and meeting will be an excellent chance to learn more about future planned projects and take part in beautifying our City.  We hope to see you there!

The intent and focus of the Mayor’s Council on Beautification is to be resident-led, action-oriented in identifying potential projects, working to secure project funding from alternative sources and subsequently score and prioritize projects all the while, 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.  If you’re interested in participating in future meetings, please contact me to be added to the contact list or feel free to attend future meetings, held the third Thursday of every month at 4:30PM.

Roundabout Ribbon Cutting

In my last Community Update, I gave an update on City construction projects happening or yet to happen in our city.  One of the projects highlighted as “near completed” was the roundabout construction by the Courthouse.  I am happy to announce that construction is complete and the area is set to reopen shortly.  A ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday, June 26th at 11:30AM  to commemorate the completion of the project. The traffic flow will be smoother, a recreational trail will enhance its connectivity and street surface will be new again. This intersection serves as the gateway to our waterfront area and am pleased there are plans to make it more attractive upon the street’s reopening!

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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