Community Update – Regional Economic Development Fund, Fall Photos, and Beautification Council

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Election as Vice President of CWED, CWED Board Meeting

Last Thursday, I joined representatives from 7 counties and 10 cities in central and north-central Wisconsin for the Central Wisconsin Economic Development (CWED) Fund’s monthly Board of Directors meeting.  At this meeting, the CWED Fund held its election of officers.  Jeffrey L. Zriny, Marathon County Board Supervisor, was elected President, and I was elected Vice President.CWED Map

A strong regional economy elevates each of our surrounding communities. The CWED Fund, regionalized in 2009, spans a territory reaching from Adams county in the south to Vilas county in the north. The over $12 million fund is in place to serve as an economic tool for Central Wisconsin.  The funds are made available with the objectives of creating new and diverse private sector jobs, growing incomes, and leveraging bank financing- all leading to an expansion of the region’s employment and tax base.  The purpose of the CWED Loan Fund is to partner with traditional financing to fill financing gaps in local markets and to stimulate private sector development.

In a previous Community Update, I gave an overview of the fund as one solution for funding new and expanding business ventures.  The fund provides an excellent opportunity for supporting business growth in the region.  Fulfilling the objectives of the fund will aid in positively impacting the business climate in our region, encouraging the expansion of existing businesses and helping to attract new businesses- all leading to a diverse mix of employment opportunities.  To learn more about the CWED fund, visit this link.  I look forward to working with the newly elected President over the coming year to ensure the continued success of CWED’s fund in promoting economic development in our region.

Board of Regents, Partnership for Thriving Communities

boardofregentsRecently, I had an opportunity to join area leaders, as well as UW system Chancellors and Provosts from around the state as UW-Stevens Point hosted the Board of Regents.  As the first time since 2008 that the board has visited UWSP, it was an opportunity to highlight the campus, and surrounding communities to demonstrate how the 4-year college is a vital and energetic part of our region.

At the meeting, UWSP’s Chancellor, Bernie Patterson shared the University’s strategic plan, titled “A Partnership for Thriving Communities,” with the Board and visitors.  This plan provides a framework through which the University is becoming more engaged with area stakeholders, more responsive to local needs, and more relevant to solving regional problems.  Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with representatives from UWSP in their preparation of this plan, to identify ways that the University can aid in advancing learning and quality of life in our communities, and leveraging our area’s precious resources.  A video of the board of regents meeting can be viewed here.

The meeting also included the opportunity for student projects to be showcased to Regents and visitors. I was pleased to see an emphasis on classroom projects that applied learning such as the use of GIS in a sonar survey of river depth above the Stevens Point dam. In this way, I shared the boat landing survey that is underway to understand the usage of the stretch of river in Wisconsin Rapids. It has been said that a second phase of the project could be a hazard identification to foster a safer experience for those looking to utilize the river here.

Submit Fall Photos

Fall Picture

A recent view from my kayak looking south with Belle Island to the right.

With the fall season upon us, one can’t help but notice the changing of colors in our area.  In fact, according to Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report, last week and this week mark peak times for fall color in central Wisconsin.   The colorful landscape of our area presents the perfect opportunity to showcase your photos on our City’s Facebook page, my Twitter or Facebook pages.  I invite you to upload some of your fall photos, and look forward to seeing (and sharing) the beautiful landscape that our area provides this time of year!

Beautification Council Meeting

Earlier this month, I represented our city at the America In Bloom Symposium.  The symposium was a celebration of efforts that communities had achieved in preserving local heritage, enhancing environmental aspects of their spaces, and, of course, beautifying their surroundings.  Our community also received feedback from our visiting judges on successes and potential improvements in the way of an evaluation and recommendation document..

This Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 4:30PM in the 1st Floor Conference Room at City Hall, the Mayor’s Council on Beautification (MCB) will hold its next meeting. Now that we’ve received the AIB judge feedback report and are entering into the fall season, members of the MCB have the opportunity to review the report, discuss alternatives and feasibility of implementation to prioritize new and existing project ideas.  Thursday’s Beautification Council meeting will be an excellent chance to learn about planned projects and voice your ideas for potential ones.  If you have an interest in participating in Thursday’s Beautification Council meeting, feel free to attend the meeting or contact me.  Whether through implementing 4th quarter projects before winter, or planning our 2015 projects, the Mayor’s Council on Beautification is hard at work planning and carrying out projects that help in making Wisconsin Rapids a more welcoming and vibrant place to live and visit.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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