Mayor’s Youth Council Aquatics Survey Results, New Media Studio opens at McMillan Memorial Library



Mayor’s Youth Council Aquatics Survey Results

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 5.45.30 AMOne of my proudest moments as Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids was the formation of the Mayor’s Youth Council in 2015. The Youth Council is a way to get young people from Lincoln, Assumption, and East Junior high schools to take ownership of their community’s future by getting involved in City government and planning neighborhood projects, such as the ”Kids to Park Day” event held this past June 18. Kids to Park Day, associated with National Park Trust and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, was an event held to encourage kids and families to get out to local or national parks and play. This year was record breaking with over 1,100 events taking place across all 50 states.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.59.07 PMThe Mayor’s Youth Council also recently reached out to area youth  with a survey to get their perspective on a pressing community issue: aquatics. The survey reached a total of 515 students, ranging from 13 to 18 years of age and from ninth to twelfth grades.

Major findings show:

  • 87 percent of survey respondents thought it was an “excellent” or “very good” idea to build a new pool to replace Mead Pool.
  • 87 percent thought is was “very likely “ or “somewhat likely” they would use an indoor aquatics facility.
  • 81 percent felt that way about an outdoor facility; and• Given a choice of facility locations, a substantial majority of 63 percent chose a location at Witter Field.

In addition, the young respondents voted by percentages of more than 70 percent in favor of facility features such as a wave pool/machine, slides, diving boards and concessions. By conducting this survey of their peers, the Mayor’s Youth Council has again demonstrated how our area’s young people can play a vital role in shaping a vibrant future for our community.

Survey results here.

New Media Studio opens at McMillan Memorial Library with Ribbon Cutting

Digital Lab

Libraries are more than just a place to read books and magazines, they provide for new and exciting technical opportunities for all ages.  McMillan Memorial Library, recently opened their new Media Lab, that represents a huge leap forward in inspiring area residents of all ages to become more familiar with technology and, ultimately, more creative in using its tools for personal expression, career development and community involvement.

Ribbon Cuttling libraryResidents celebrated the grand opening at a ribbon cutting celebration that took place on on June 15. The Media Lab is a “geek’s” paradise, with digital video and photography equipment, 3-D printers, scanners, a green screen, and a sound studio, among many other state-of-the-art features for creative expression. The space is free to use and open to the public. The only charges are
costs for anything printed through the photo printer, 3-D printing or film.

McMillan Memorial Library Assistant Director Brian Kopetsky has been a prime influence on conception and ongoing growth of the studio; he applied for and received partial funding from a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and oversees its operation.

In addition, Tom Loucks, coordinator for River Cities Community Access Media, a Department  of the City, is on the steering committee for the Lab, and has signed on as an instructor for children, teens and adults who are willing to learn more about video and post-production techniques. One goal is to encourage more people to get involved in their community by getting out and possibly filming these events.  

The McMillan Memorial Library Media Lab provides a source of expression that is unique so be sure to check it out!

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink



Housing Study Presentation


Invitation- Housing Study Report Presentation

I invite community members to join me and other City officials at City Hall for a special presentation of the Housing Study and Needs Assessment Final Report tomorrow, Tuesday, June 21, at 5 p.m.

Planning and community development consultant Vierbicher Associates will highlight challenges, opportunities and recommendations related to Wisconsin Rapids’ housing – specifically, their analysis of how effectively existing housing meets community needs and anticipating future housing needs.

A shortened version of the presentation will be provided to the City Common Council during its meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Please attend as we share the results of this study, which marks an important milestone in our goal of meeting the immediate and future housing needs of our community!

The full report is available at and a recording of the event will be made available in the near future.

Community Update – Youth Set Kids to Parks Day, Cranberry Blossom Fest Activities, Recycling Rangers Support Community Beautification Efforts



Youth Set Kids to Parks Day

This Saturday, June 18, members of the Mayor’s Youth Council invite you to attend a special community event designed to inspire residents of all ages to participate in a grassroots movement to discover America’s parks through play.

13346963_1040222296030936_2344153230500963719_nKids to Parks Day runs from 1:30-3:30 p.m.,  at Robinson Park. All are invited to start their day of play there, and then venture out to all of our community’s other outdoor spaces throughout the day. Activities and refreshments will be available.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.54.54 AMI recently proclaimed Kids to Parks day in Wisconsin Rapids, and I encourage local citizens to participate by exploring our expansive acres of city parks and miles of trails.

The Mayor’s Youth Council planned this event to commemorate National Park Trust’s sixth annual Kids to Parks Day, celebrated nationally on May 21. Like Wisconsin Rapids, other cities across the nation are committing to a simple motto: “Active kids are healthy kids,” and encouraging their residents to use Kids to Parks Day as the first of many days spent outdoors, at local parks and recreation sites, to develop more active and healthy lifestyles.

For more information about our local Kids to Park Day, visit 

Blossom Fest Events and Activities

As Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, I take special pride in welcoming the summer season by spotlighting our area’s annual Cranberry Blossom Festival. The 2016 Blossom Fest begins this Thursday and runs through Sunday, June 19. As always, this occasion offers something for every member of the family – more than 20 events, featuring live music, arts and crafts, tasty foods and a spectacular parade.

CranberryThese are a few of my favorite events:

  • Downtown Classic Cinema Under the Stars View a family classic  Thursday, June 16, on West Grand Avenue.
  • June Dairy & Berry Breakfast Dig into a pancake banquet, Friday, June 17, at Lincoln High School.
  • Friends of Rapids Music – Music Festival Jam with seven local bands, Saturday, June 18, at Robinson Park.
  • Arts, Crafts and Cranberries Fair; Festival Eats and Treats; and “Cruise In” Car Show Experience a feast for the senses, Saturday, June 18, at Witter Field.
  • Cranberry Blossom Festival Carnival – Enjoy rides, games and food, Friday-Sunday, June 17-19, at Witter Field.
  • Cranberry Blossom Fest Parade – Take in our annual pageant of civic pride, Sunday, June 19, along Grand Avenue.

To find complete details about all events and activities, visit I look forward to seeing you June 16-19!

Recycling Rangers Support Community Beautification Efforts

Clean GreenAs we continue to embrace our vision of a city that attracts and retains talented people and thriving businesses, I am encouraged by the efforts of local citizens to make our community as attractive as possible. Dedicated members of the Mayor’s Beautification Council, for example, have enhanced our City’s “eye appeal” by cleaning up neighborhoods, hanging flower baskets and coordinating the sales of trees to individual homeowners.

Another group that successfully strives to nurture our area’s image as a desirable place to live, work and play is Clean Green Action.  This grassroots environmental group engages in projects such as recycling campaigns and preparing grant applications for environmental initiatives (such as the designation of Wisconsin Rapids as a “Bird City”).

In addition, CGA organizes and deploys Recycling Rangers – residents who volunteer to help clean up before, during and after civic events. This summer offers several opportunities to help us put our best “face” forward to visitors – many of whom will be coming from beyond both state and national borders.

Special summer events include:

  • Ÿ Wisconsin Rapids Fourth of July Fireworks Display
  • Ÿ Wisconsin State Waterski Show, July 21-24
  • Ÿ Labor Day Celebration, September 5
  • Ÿ World Waterski Show, September 9-11
  • Ÿ Grand Avenue Grand Affair, September 11

For more information on how you can volunteer, contact Bill Clendenning at 715-323-5281, or Carol Davis at 715-459-6642. Or, you can sign up now by clicking here. If you have not shared the experience of being a Recycling Ranger, make it your goal to do so. As always, our City thanks you for your help. And if you know family, friends and associates who would be interested, please let them know how they can sign up. Many hands make light work!

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink