COMMUNITY UPDATE – Streamlining Development, Wisconsin Rapids to host a Veterans Stand Down and an online survey offers a chance to display our sense of community

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Another effort to streamline future development and land-use.

How we position ourselves to support development can mean the difference between a successful project in our city and no project. This is the reason why we have continuously focused on the way we interact with developers, investors, and business people. Cumbersome or outdated rules and regulations often times found in our city’s Ordinances can be an impediment to development resulting in lost time or worse, lost projects/opportunities. Our present zoning code- the document that sets forth what development and use of land is appropriate hasn’t seen a substantial update since the early 1980s. As we all know, a lot has changed in the world and our city since then. TO this end, the City of Wisconsin Rapids is setting forth with a major project to rewrite its zoning code to make it more modern and user friendly. In order to gather valuable input that reflects the concerns and needs of our residents, we have invited selected citizen shareholders to be part of this important project and encourage anyone else interested in participating to join us during a two-hour workshop at City Hall on Tuesday, November 3, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.55.01 PMOur consultant, Civi Tek Consulting, will facilitate a dialogue among members of the Planning Commission, the Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force and invited residents designed to identify general and specific major policy issues the new zoning code should address in new or different ways. We’ll be seeking feedback regarding the current code and its administration, and we will then collaborate with workshop participants to identify and evaluate alternative solutions to the key issues. Our ultimate goal is to develop consensus on what needs to be addressed in the rewrite and gain sufficient direction to begin drafting the updated zoning ordinance.

We are look forward to workshop participants taking full advantage to engage in this unique opportunity. When completed, the new zoning code will be readable and understandable. It will be integrated into other land-use regulations and be internally consistent, with no overlapping or contradictory provisions. Graphics and drawings will be used to increase reader comprehension to be more user-friendly.

Of course, we want this process to be transparent to all our citizens. As we continue along the path to a zoning ordinance that meets the needs of a growing and progressive community, we will post updates at the City website www.wisconsin-rapids-zoning.civitekprojects.com. We also encourage you to call Adam Tegen, Director of Planning & Economic Development, at 715-421-8225, or email ategen@wirapids.org to RSVP for this important project.

Wisconsin Rapids Veterans Stand Down

I am pleased that Wisconsin Rapids will again host an event to provide support to our nation’s military people. This year’s Wisconsin Rapids Stand Down will be held on Thursday, November 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Centralia Center.Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.26.51 AM During the Stand Down, veterans will be able to learn about resources offered by the Veterans Administration (VA) and a host of other community agencies: VA benefits and enrollment, employment programs, credit counseling, Social Security, health screenings, post-traumatic stress syndrome, drug and alcohol treatment, financial counseling, housing and shelter information/referrals, and legal aid through community partnerships. Homeless and at-risk Veterans will have the opportunity to receive food, clothing and other resource assistance.

I urge you to encourage military family and acquaintances to attend. You can also help by personally donating items for attendees. For additional information, contact Wood County Veterans Service Officer Rock Larson at 715-421-8420; or the Tomah VA at 800-872-8662, ext. 64201.  To learn more what a Stand Down event is about, visit Wisconsin Rapids 2014 Stand Down event video from RCCA Media: https://youtu.be/re8_MyBXEvg.

Online survey offers a chance to display our sense of community

In my 2015 State of the City address I focused on citizen engagement as a key to building a healthy community. Having continued to emphasize this theme throughout the year, I acknowledge that personal feelings about families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and local government can influence the degree to which our residents are willing to become more involved in the well being of their community.

So, how do south Wood County residents feel about their community? What ‘attaches’ you to living here? You can help to answer this question, while helping a native of our community. Kristi Anderson, a 2007 graduate of Lincoln High School and current graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is working on a research project designed to measure the feelings of community attachment in the south Wood County area.

All current residents of the south Wood County area who are at least 18 years of age are invited to share their thoughts by completing a short 15-minute survey. To take the survey, click on the link here: https://goo.gl/YeiIjE.

In order to provide Kristi with as much feedback as possible, I am also requesting that you please share this survey with others in your work and social networks.

Once the data has been collected and analyzed, Kristi looks forward to sharing her findings with local residents and community organizations. For more information, contact Kristi directly here.

Many thanks for participating in and sharing this opportunity!

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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