Last week, Wisconsin Rapids received exciting news. At a media conference held last Wednesday, Riverview Hospital Association and John E. Alexander YMCA announced a mutual letter of intent to collaborate on the construction and operation of a new YMCA facility in Wisconsin Rapids. Proposed to be located on land donated by Riverview, the facility will be designed to address a wide range of community health and wellness needs as well as an expansion of Riverview’s services.
The announcement is great news for the City. Not only is it wonderful to have two community-minded organizations creatively coming together to improve our community’s health and well-being- the announcement paves the way to positively impact our city and it’s future.
Further, a facility like that announced last week provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our community economically through attracting and retaining young adults and families. As the City competes for business and talent, a recurring question I hear is what can Wisconsin Rapids offer prospective talent by way of where they spend their time when not at work. As our city works to create a healthy demographic balance, the announced facility and partnership can play an integral part in that vision. The facility can serve as a place to nurture the potential of children and families through youth development, while helping to improve the health and well-being of residents in our community!
Although the announcement was an exciting step for the future of aquatics in our area, there is still much work to be done. In the near future, the City of Wisconsin Rapids will need to consider if and how a collaborative approach to solving our aquatics challenges is practical. To aid in this decision, an ad hoc committee will be formed, consisting of residents, city officials and businesses. The committee’s focus will be on quantifying existing pool usage, understanding the significant maintenance and operational challenges of our current pool, and considering how to engage residents in dealing with aquatics in our community. As we progress on these fronts, more details will be shared.
It is indeed an exciting time for our community. I am hopeful this is the first of many collaborative efforts to make our community stronger. To read my reaction to the announcement, click here.
A fitting location to last Wednesday’s Riverview/YMCA announcement, the Daily Tribune Media Staff will be hosting their next “Walk-Around Wednesday” location at Riverview Medical Center this Wednesday, August 20 at 12:15PM. Each week, participants meet and walk at different locations- Last week we walked along West Grand Avenue to Veterans Park with the week before starting at the Tribune Building. The goal of these sessions is to connect with others in the community, and have casual conversations while getting some exercise. For more details on Walk-Around Wednesdays, see the Tribune’s write-up here.
Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Last week, I joined area leaders at in Tomah to celebrate a ribbon cutting at the Veterans Affairs Medical
Center. The ceremony formally marked the center’s opening of two ‘Green Houses,’ that will provide a new and innovative approach for Veterans residing in the skilled-care setting. The ‘Green House’ concept provides a full range of personal care and clinical services, while giving priority to quality of life, and security in a real-home setting.
The Tomah VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics provide care to more than 27,000 Veterans in Wisconsin each year. In addition to the VA’s main facility in Tomah, outpatient clinics are located throughout Wisconsin, with one location in Wisconsin Rapids connected to the Rapids Mall. Last week’s event was an excellent opportunity to visit our region’s main VA location and learn more about the services they provide to our area’s veterans. Find more information on the ribbon cutting as well as the ‘Green House’ concept by visiting this link.
Kickstart Your Heart
Last Saturday, I joined area leaders and business sponsors for the Kickstart Your Heart fundraising event at Witter Field. The event sought to promote heart-healthy lifestyles and raise awareness for heart disease by providing aid to area organizations with tools to assist in procuring the equipment necessary for resuscitating children. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually. The event had a kickball tournament, live music and I supported the event by being a target in the dunk tank.
Funds raised from the event support the purchase of pediatric defibrillators for non-profit organizations in our area. From funds raised, there are plans to fill up to 10 requests from organizations who have applied for the devices. Even with the COLD water, I was happy to get dunked and help raise awareness for this important cause.
Monthly Radio Show
Every month on the third Wednesday, typically following our monthly City Council meeting, I join Carl Hilke on WFHR. The show allows me to update listeners on issues facing the city. Additionally, I take calls on air. The show is from 10:00AM-11:00AM. Listen on air at AM 1320 or online. You can also view past recordings of the radio show by visiting RCCA Media’s YouTube page.
Thank you for reading,
Mayor Zach Vruwink