Wisconsin Rapids Supports Wood County Crowdfunding Project for Business Creation and Expansion
As Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, I am proud to be a member of a recently formed team of Wood County leaders who are supporting Wood County as one of just a few areas in the country – and the only one in Wisconsin – to be selected as a demonstration site for the Rural Crowdfunding Project of The Local Crowd.
Crowdfunding is commonly used in times of tragedy or illness to raise funds but doing so for business growth and development in rural areas like ours is far less common. Crowdfunding empowers entrepreneurs to raise business capital through the Internet and social engagement. With the help of The Local Crowd, Wood County can give ambitious individuals a single platform upon which to showcase and share their brand, resources and plans with potential investors. This approach also enables entrepreneurs to be creative in offering investors more ways to contribute, ranging from financial investments in exchange for equity, to small-scale donations in exchange for a first-run product or other reward.
The Local Crowd model includes locally-based crowdfunding software, consulting and instruction – including webinars, seminars, workshops, retreats, in-person and online classes, and courses for groups and individuals. The Local Crowd taps into community involvement by working directly with local economic development groups – in this case, the North Central Community Action Program (NCCAP).
To qualify for the Rural Crowdfunding Project, NCCAP submitted a detailed proposal in which it committed to:
- Establishing a virtual incubator at NCCAP offices;
- Including Wood County leaders as team members;
- Attending all trainings and provide research assistance;
- Marketing the program via local Community Media (TV), public radio, print media and social media and;
- Sharing experiences with local and state governmental bodies.
Our NCCAP team represents a wide swath of Wood County, from north to south. Joining me as team advisors are: Joe Ancel of the Clean Green Action Program; Mary Jo Carson, former Wisconsin Rapids mayor; Jenny Harms, of Incourage; Karen Olson, of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Service Corps of Retired Executives; and Ed Wagner, Wood County Board and Marshfield Council member. Carla Lenk, Jobs & Business Development coordinator for NCCAP, serves as team leader and liaison to The Local Crowd.
NCCAP deserves kudos for opening up this opportunity to local people seeking to start or expand their businesses. As Aaron Hagar of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has expressed it, “With the help of modern technology, crowdfunding is revolutionizing business finance for both small companies and small investors.”
NCCAP Newsletter link: here.
During the past several months, the Wisconsin Rapids area has made tangible forward steps toward our vision of a vibrant and prosperous community: private and public Downtown development projects; Riverfront revitalization grant assistance from the State of Wisconsin; Incourage’s Tribune Building project; and the growing interest of prospective Triangle Area developers, to name a few. The time is ripe for current and aspiring entrepreneurs to share in an exciting era for our community by growing or creating businesses right here. The Rural Crowdfunding Project offers another asset for fulfilling both community and individual aspirations for success.
8th Street South & Chestnut Street Safety Improvements in Place
I have often spoken about the need for a “healthy” community, from the standpoints of finance, sustainability and civic engagement. From the government administration standpoint, this vision extends to protecting our community’s literal health.
Reflecting this spirit of concern and responsibility for our citizens’ welfare, the Wisconsin Rapids Engineering Department recently completed safety improvements at the intersection of 8th Street South and Chestnut Street, which has been the scene of a significant number of traffic accidents. The City has received both positive and negative responses from area motorists regarding these upgrades, but I feel the improvements will result in a safer driving experience for motorists.
Between 2003 and 2009, 54 crashes occurred at the intersection of 8th Street and Chestnut; most of these crashes resulted from left turns, and nearly 43 percent led to injuries. In 2012, the City Engineering Department received funding from the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation Highway Safety Improvement Program to help make this intersection safer by reducing left turn crashes.
The new intersection layout provides dedicated left turn lanes that allow drivers to see oncoming traffic more clearly and electronic left turn signals that allow for a protected left turn phase. Once the left turn arrow disappears, motorists can still make a left turn, but must yield to oncoming traffic.
We understand that these changes may take some getting used to. In the long run, however, the safety prospects for residents and visitors will be greatly enhanced.
For more information regarding this safety improvement, residents can call the City Engineering Department at 715-421-8205, or my office at 715-421-8216.
Kids Trick-or-Treating Hours in Wisconsin Rapids
October is here, and that means costumes, candy and fun. Make plans for your kids to safely enjoy the season in the Wisconsin Rapids.
Trick-or- treating hours are from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 31. Trick-or-treating is a time for fun, but please make sure your kids are safe, by following a few tips:
- Children should always go out trick or treating accompanied by a responsible adult. For a group of kids, parents should choose two or three adults to go along.
- Stick to the times set by the community, and stick to subdivisions and areas with a lot of homes so your kids can get in as much trick or treating as possible.
- Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
- Parents with older kids should plan safe routes to know where their kids will be at all times. Make sure children are old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves, insist that they stay in a group and set a time for their return home. Make sure that they have a cell phone.
- Make sure your children know to stay in populated areas and stay in well-lighted areas with lots of people around. Explain to them why it can be dangerous for kids not to do this.
- Remind your children to look both ways before crossing streets.
- Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.
- Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.
- Motorists should be aware of the increased presence and activity of children, stay alert and drive carefully.
- May you and your children celebrate Halloween in a safe and fun way!
Thanks for reading,
Mayor Zach Vruwink