Next Tuesday, July 26th @ 6pm in the Library Auditorium, a presentation will be made on the aquatics options from which the City will consider to invest in. This is an important moment in our present-day discussions related to public aquatics for our residents. Mark your calendar!!
The community has long been faced with the imminent end-of-life reality of public pools serving our region. When the we met with the State agency that issues pool licenses (DSPS) after the season ended last year, we were notified that a much more thorough review was going to be done on Mead Pool due to imminent health and safety concerns. Their analysis concluded a major overhaul to the pool deck, underground piping and others would be necessary to have a conditional pool permit issued for 2016 operation. At this time City Staff and the Council opted to pursue a long term solution- a new facility. At the same time, the city had been discussing possible partnership opportunities with the YMCA on an indoor aquatic option through their Wisconsin Rapids expansion. In recent months, the city has contracted with Burbach Aquatics to consider general scoping of an outdoor aquatic facility. I am pleased to share both of these options are now ready for public presentation. In the time following next week’s public presentation, the City- its Council Members and myself will be listening to your options as it weighs an option to head. Following a period of public comment, the council may consider a direction at it’s August 16th Council Meeting. This isn’t a meeting where a final design or concept will be made, but merely a general direction. I hope to see you Tuesday night!
Verso Emerges from Bankruptcy
In a welcome dose of news last Friday: Verso Corporation, North America’s producer of printing and specialty papers and pulp, announced that it has emerged from bankruptcy following a successful financial restructuring. This restructuring substantially reduced the company’s debt, and includes financing to support ongoing operations and capital investment. Verso news release, here.
What is so significant about this turnaround is how relatively quickly it came about – less than six months after Verso’s Chapter 11 filings. The willingness of the company’s lenders to continue investing in its operations demonstrates their confidence in Verso’s long-term growth potential, and should serve as a source of optimism for an industry that remains very challenged.
The success of the restructuring also is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our community’s workforce, who continued to demonstrate our area’s enduring work ethic throughout the process. Verso has nearly 1000 team-members in the Wisconsin Rapids area.
Verso is now in a position to capitalize on previous operational improvements, pursue new strategic initiatives and effectively compete on a worldwide basis. As Mayor, I am excited about the opportunities our City has to work with Verso to help to ensure its continued success.
Wisconsin Rapids Ranked in Top 60 of 900+ Communities Among “Best Cities for Teachers to Live and Work
As Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, it gave me great pride to hear about a report that ranks the Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield area 57th out of more than 900 U.S. communities on the job and lifestyle opportunities they provide for K-12 teachers.
Data analysts from college and careers website GoodCall evaluated these U.S. metro and micro areas on the basis of four criteria:
- Affordability – Local teacher salaries weighed with local housing costs
- Job Competition – Current open teacher job positions weighed with the number of resumés posted for hire
- School Ratings – Ratings for school districts within each metro area
- Lifestyle – The number of local restaurant, arts and entertainment amenities per capita
GoodCall.com is a website designed to help families and their children make educated financial decisions by providing objective information on everything from college rankings to financial aid. Carrie Wiley, who contributed to the report, said, “We set out to identify which parts of the U.S. are particularly teacher-friendly so that new teachers entering the field and those who are looking to relocate know which cities offer them the best backdrop for their career.”
Overall, the results suggest a smaller metro area such as Wisconsin Rapids may be the ideal environment for K-12 teachers who desire a strong community and an affordable lifestyle.
While teaching is recognized as one of the most demanding professions, it is also, according to teachers, one of the most rewarding, due to its effect on students’ lives. Competitive salaries, great schools, an active social-recreational scene and affordable housing can make the difference in attracting such dedicated professionals. Our recently completed Housing Study and Needs Assessment Report reinforces our need to explore and act upon solutions to increase or adapt more quality and affordable single-, two- and multi-family housing options, to retain our status as an appealing choice for educational professionals.
50th Annual Wisconsin State/Regional Water Ski Show Championships Start Thursday
I heartily invite everyone this week to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Wisconsin State/Regional Water Ski Show Championships. This fun and exciting sporting event takes place July 21-24, at South Wood County Park’s Red Sands Beach on Lake Wazeecha.
The Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers Waterski Show Team has hosted this tourney since 1967. The competition is well known in the show skiing world and draws performers statewide who are attracted by the scenic atmosphere and excellent facilities.
Because we do expect many out-of-town visitors during this week, I ask that all residents do what they can to maintain and display our best “warm and welcoming” hospitality.
Housing Study Survey Winners Announced
When the City of Wisconsin Rapids conducted its Housing Study and Needs Assessment late last year, we offered an incentive for residents to provide their feedback: Automatic entry into a drawing to win a Visa gift card from the City of Wisconsin Rapids and Paper City Savings Bank.
It is my pleasure to announce that, out of more than 700 survey respondents, the selection of three winners, all from Wisconsin Rapids: $100 winner Leah Kramer; and $50 winners Candis Challoner and Ronald Rasmussen. Congratulations!
We thank Leah, Candis, Ronald and all other respondents for helping us to identify issues, opportunities and recommendations that can guide our City in developing affordable and comfortable housing options. The full report can be found here.
Thanks for reading,
Mayor Zach Vruwink