“Rekindle the Spirit” with Holiday Parade and Celebration, Local Stakeholders Invited to Learn about “Investing in Healthy Communities”



“Rekindle the Spirit” with Holiday Parade and Celebration

The holidays are upon us, and I invite one and all to again observe the season this Wednesday evening by celebrating a colorful Downtown Wisconsin Rapids tradition – the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s Rekindle the Spirit” Holiday Parade and CelebrationThis festive occasion offers something for every member of t
he family.

  • The fun begins at 5:45 p.m., when I lead the countdown of the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park.
  • The Holiday Parade immediately follows, featuring emergency services vehicles from Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding communities, area veterans, and floats representing local businesses and organizations. The procession starts from the JCPenney parking lot at Rapids Mall, makes its way across Grand Avenue Bridge and ends at 4th Street.screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-15-08-pm
  • After the parade, Hotel Mead welcomes everyone to enjoy its warm hospitality, highlighted by a visit with Santa, music, and hot chocolate and cookies in the Riverside Ballroom.
  • Then, cap off the evening at McMillan Memorial Library for a screening of the heartwarming movie Christmas Land, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Share the good cheer … join us this Wednesday for “Rekindle the Spirit”!

Local Stakeholders Invited to Learn about “Investing in Healthy Communities”

healthy-communitites-copyOur recent national election brought to the forefront significant concerns and questions about the health and economic well-being of our citizens and the communities in which they live. To this end, it is an honor that our City will soon host a daylong conference that takes on these challenges with fresh and innovative ideas.

Incourage and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are co-sponsoring “Investing in Healthy Communities: Ideas to Action for Health People, Places and Planet” on Wednesday, December 7. A range of leaders from the fields of banking, community development finance, philanthropy, health care, city planning and government will share leading practices in economic development, sustainability and investment.

A major focus will be on approaches to strengthening ties between urban and rural communities, and on the ways in which banks, community development financial institutions, philanthropy, and others are investing to promote across-the-board access to health and prosperity.

This daylong event takes place from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at Hotel Mead. Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics, Inc., University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and the Wood County Health Department are among the organizations serving as hosts.

Conference attendees can expect to:

  • Explore promising community development opportunities and sustainable, innovative financing strategies
  • Consider the interdependence of rural and urban communities
  • Learn how environmentally sustainable practices advance health and well-being
  • Grow and strengthen networks

Participate in collaborative action to realize healthy communities.  Since my “State of the City” address in March of 2015, I have encouraged our citizens to pursue a “healthy community” vision for Wisconsin Rapids, centered on fostering and nurturing an environment for business development and job growth; making city services more accessible and responsive to our citizens; and engaging citizens to help shape the culture and the future of our community. This conference echoes and expands upon those themes.

I urge stakeholders who play a role in forging our community’s economic development to attend this most timely event.

Register for the event, here.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink



Early Voting Available Tomorrow at City Hall, Busy Public Works Construction Season Comes to a Close, Every Kid in a Park



Early Voting Available Tomorrow (Saturday) at City Hall


The long campaign season is winding down, along [Deep Sigh]

City of Wisconsin residents still have time to cast early ballots early for the General Election with in-person absentee (early) voting available tomorrow, Saturday, November 5, at the City Clerk’s office on the first-floor of City Hall, at 444 West Grand Avenue.

Voters who opt for tradition should remember that Election Day is next Tuesday, November 8. Polling takes place from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., at these locations:

  • Grove Elementary School, 471 Grove Ave.
  • Howe Elementary School, 221 8th Street N.
  • Mead Elementary Charter School, 241 17th Avenue S.

Fo more information about the election process in the city please visit our City’s elections website page, here.

Whatever time you decide to vote, keep in mind that you must be or become a registered voter in the City of Wisconsin Rapids and have a valid form of identification.

Please exercise your precious American privilege to affirm the candidate of your choice!

“Every Kid in a Park” Initiative Expands Learning Opportunities for Young Students

park-logoThe time is now to plan a spring or summer park trip visit that can expand the traditional classroom for our young people.

To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, the White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park” initiative. The immediate goal is to give 4th grade students across the country the opportunity to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

By visiting www.everykidinapark.gov, all kids in the 4th grade can obtain an Every Kid in a Park pass. This pass provides free access to national parks across the country throughout the 2016-2017 school year, until August 31, 2017. Teachers also can obtain the free passes for their students.

In support of Every Kid in a Park, the National Park Foundation is raising funds to help connect fourth graders to America’s public lands and waters through transportation grants, with a special focus on underserved and urban communities. With cutbacks in school funding for field trips, this strategic funding will help provide comprehensive access to all national parks.

As an educational “plus,” this initiative also helps schools and families arrange field trips and visits by providing trip-planning tools that highlight educational programs and tools that connect students, teachers, families and volunteers with public lands and waterways.

With support from the Every Kid in a Park initiative, and with encouragement from parents, teachers and all residents concerned about our children’s future, enabling 4th graders to visit, experience and enjoy their country’s spectacular outdoor places can help them to become lifelong learners, both inside and outside the classroom.

Information about our City parks, here.

Busy Public Works Construction Season Comes to a Close

Under the guidance of the City of Wisconsin Rapids Public Works Director, our Public Works Department staff are responsible for, among other tasks, coordinating short-and long-range planning and implementation of new construction, infrastructure management and replacements – all designed to enhance the safety, convenience and quality of life for our City, its residents and visitors.

As these professionals conclude a fruitful season of activity, two projects particularly spring to mind:

14729195_1252032748172107_4302444348616223397_n8th and Chestnut Streets Safety Enhancement – State-contracted crews recently completed safety improvements at the intersection of 8th Street South and Chestnut Street, which was the scene of 54 crashes between the years of 2003 and 2009. The new intersection layout provides dedicated left turn lanes that allow drivers to see oncoming traffic more clearly, as well as left turn signals that allow for a protected left turn phase.

For a video of the intersection please click, here.

A brief overview of 2016 Public Works projects includes:

  • April 6 – 24th Street South, 100-foot extension at Home Depot (1,050 feet north of County Highway W); completed in early June.
  • April 18 – Apple Street, from 12th Street South to 15th Street South; completed in early June.
  • June 6 – 1st Street North closed to through traffic from Spring Street to Poplar Street, with detours for 1st Street truck traffic along State Highway 54, Riverview Expressway, West Grand Avenue and West Jackson Street, and for all other local traffic along Pleasant view Drive, 5th Street North and Spring Street; completed in late October.
  • September 12 – 3rd Avenue North, from West Grand Avenue to Jackson Street, closed to through traffic due to street reconstruction; re-opened in November.
  • October 7 – 1st Street North, between Apricot Street and Lavigne Avenue, closed to through traffic for water main improvements and street resurfacing; re-opened in late October.
  • City Hall and Fireman’s Memorial – Parking lots at both sites were re-paved, striped and are now open to traffic.
  • 2016 Sewer Lining Project – Manhole rehabilitation work remains on 17th Avenue. Subcontractor Hydro-Klean will soon finish this work, after which the City can begin closing out the project with prime contractor Visu-Sewer.

We thank the residents of our community for their patience and understanding as our dedicated Public Works employees strive to ensure our City infrastructure replacements go as smoothly as possible making our city an attractive place to live and do business.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink