Community Update: Youth Provide Splash Pad Design Input, Socializing With American Heroes an Honor, Unseasonable conditions force Ice-Pond closure

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Students Provide Design Concepts for a new Splash Pad

Students from Mead School listen to Mayor Zach Vruwink talk about the Splash Pad their going to help design during a meeting on Monday. Photo by Jen Clark/City of WR Executive Coordinator to the Mayor's Office

Students from Mead School listen to Mayor Zach Vruwink talk about the Splash Pad their designing together during the meeting on Monday. Photos by Jen Clark/Executive Coordinator

As part of a planned $9 million investment in public aquatics, the City of Wisconsin Rapids hosted a very successful splash pad planning session with our city youth last Monday. City staff and I had the chance to host our future leaders from Mead Elementary Charter School to offer design preferences and opinions that would be used in the new splash pad design adjacent to Mead School.  Involving the very users in design of public features is not only good city planning, it is also a way to instill a permanent pride in being involved in making our city a better place.

Students from Mead School write down concepts for the new Splash Pad.

A student from Mead School draws concepts for the new Splash Pad.

Splash or spray pad design can consist of nearly limitless combinations and themes. By definition, they are an aquatic play attraction that has no standing water and serve all ages and abilities. The purpose of our planning exercise last Monday, gave students a first-hand opportunity to learn how to design something that will not only work for them and their families, but for generations to come. They learned aspects such as budget and features, and casted their vote for their favorite ideas on what they want to see in Wisconsin Rapids.

In 2016, the City agreed to pursue a regional-scale aquatic center in the eastern-half of the Witter Field complex and a splash pad at Mead. It was anticipated that a regional-scale facility with related park and facility enhancements would cost $8.5 million. The financing would consist of a mix of public, private, and philanthropic contributions.

The first donor has been secured for the project, and I am very pleased to partner with the Legacy Foundation of Central Wisconsin to restore an aquatic feature to the Mead complex this year.  Making investments in park and related features will not only be an attraction for youth and families, but also strengthen the surrounding neighborhoods.

As part of the design process the City is undertaking, future meetings will be scheduled with stakeholders and the public to provide input on the Masterplan elements at both Mead and Witter complexes.

Socializing With American Heroes Is an Honor

This past Wednesday, I had a visit to the American Heroes Café here in Wisconsin Rapids. Also accompanying the visit was State Senator Patrick Testin . During our time at the café, Sen. Testin and I were able to share information about current events and issues important to veterans and their neighbors and to listen for accounts of bravery and sacrifice from these citizen soldiers who have served our nation so admirably.

Mayor Zach Vruwink and State Senator Patrick Testin listen to Navy veteran Bill Haack of Nekoosa at the American Heroes Café in Wisconsin Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Mayor Zach Vruwink and State Senator Patrick Testin listen to Navy veteran Bill Haack of Nekoosa at the American Heroes Café in Wisconsin Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Photo by Travis Plowman/City of WR Multimedia Specialist – Photo gallery of the event, click here.

The American heroes Café opened at the Lowell Senior Center back in September of 2015, as a haven where Central Wisconsin veterans, police officers and firefighters could enjoy coffee, donuts and conversation. It quickly became so successful that it recently moved to a larger venue – the Crossroads Church near Shopko Plaza. The café is open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Thanks go to Navy veteran Bill Haack of Nekoosa for making this concept a reality for area former military personnel and active public safety servants. I extend my personal gratitude to these men and women who, throughout generations, put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

By the way … we can help: Bill accepts contributions for the café. You can write checks to American Heroes Café, and send them to him at 1016 W. Fifth Street, Nekoosa WI 54457. To learn more, call him at 262-496-3198

And…. A Wisconsin Rapids television/online program showcases notable achievements of American military veterans across a span of international conflicts.

Tom Heiser, junior vice commander of local VFW Post 2534 interviews local Bill Goodness at WRCM studio.

Tom Heiser, junior vice commander of local VFW Post 2534 interviews local Bill Goodness at WRCM studio.

“Thank You for Your Service” spotlights the unique sacrifice and dedication of military veterans who reside in our area. The program is hosted and produced by Tom Heiser, junior vice commander of local VFW Post 2534 along with his group of his volunteers trained by Wisconsin Rapids Community Media (WRCM) staff to help make the program a success. Heiser records the episodes at the studio of WRCM, a division of the City of Wisconsin Rapids’ Innovation & Technology Department on a monthly basis.

Watch “Thank You For Your Service” programs, here, or on Solarus HD Channel 3, Charter SD Channel 985, WRCM Livestream, Saturdays at 10am and Wednesdays at 8pm.

Unseasonable conditions force to close Ice-Pond early

Due to warm weather this past week we closed the Witter Warming House Ice Pond and Robinson Low Board Hockey Rink for the season, but there will be plenty of opportunities to stay active this spring and summer with some new and exciting class offered through our Parks and Recreation Department.  Check out a list of the programs offered, here.

Also, if you’re looking for a summer employment, we have seasonal opportunities for a Golf Instructor, Tennis Instructor, Volleyball Instructor, T-Ball, Soccer and Basketball Aides.  Application deadline is Friday, March 3, 2017 at 4pm. To find out how to apply, click, here.screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-9-23-58-am

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink
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