Community Update: “Did You Know … ?” City Ordinance Enforcement Tip & Northern Steel Castings Statement



“Did You Know … ?” City Ordinance Enforcement Tip

Photo by Jesse Austin/WRCM
Vehicles can’t be parked on the grass by City ordinance.

Did you know … the City of Wisconsin Rapids has a Municipal Code section that deals with the parking of vehicles, trailers, and recreational vehicles?

Find out more, by visiting Chapter 11 in the ordinances section on the City website. 

This is one of a series of City ordinance updates I’ll be highlighting on a monthly basis throughout 2017. It’s designed to encourage all citizens to do what we can to help our Code Enforcement personnel protect the health, welfare and safety of our citizens.

If you have questions about this or other Municipal Codes, please contact your Wisconsin Rapids Code Enforcement Officer Ray Starks at 715-421-8229 or 715-421-8228.

SeeClickFix is available on a smartphone or a computer desktop to help citizens report issues within the city of Wisconsin Rapids.

In addition, I urge you to put SeeClickFix at your fingertips. This app offers a quick and easy way to report and track City response to possible ordinance-violations through online and mobile download. View the app in action, here. Be part of the solution!



Statement on Northern Steel Castings

Early this week unwelcome news broke related to the business operations of Northern Steel Castings. In December, a fire occurred at their Goggins Street, near Rapids Mall, facility. That situation had a serious negative impact to their business. Since then, they have performed extensive cleanup work and have restored electric and gas utilities to normal operation. Unfortunately, the impact sustained was substantial, and their employees were notified last week that the facility would not return to full operation.

Our thoughts go out to the 40 individuals and families who have been affected since the fire and the most recent determination to cease operations. I issued a statement to clarify facts surrounding the information contained in reports. Read here.

Growing our economy is a constant priority. Setbacks like these are tough to swallow. Nationally, the steel industry remains challenged and that includes operations such as those casters and foundry operators such as Northern Steel. I hope the new Administration continues to make good on their word to support American made industries and that includes those here.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink


Community Update: Public Works Projects Continue Important Reinvestment



Public Works Projects Continue Important Reinvestment

The “drive” continues to ensure that our City put on its best “face” as a safe, efficient and accessible home for residents and destination for visitors. Annually we take on a series of public works projects designed to enhance our community’s appeal as a desirable place to live, work and play. Despite flat or declining state-aid payments for important transportation reinvestment, we continue to do what we can.

  • 1st Street North (200 feet North of Poplar Street to the City Limits)

Photo submitted by Public Works Dept. – New curb and gutter along 1st St. N. project was recently constructed.

Work on this project, which began on April 17, will result in adding a recreational trail along the Wisconsin River, the installation of underground utilities, and new asphalt pavement and curb & gutter from 200 feet north of Poplar Street to the City Limits. All underground work is complete on the first two blocks of the project, and work continues up 1st Street North, as city crews approach Pleasant View Drive. Base course gravel will be placed after all the subgrade material is placed and compacted. Contractors have completed the direct bore conduit and gas line on Shorewood Terrace. Work is currently about 50 percent complete, with completion expected by the middle of July.

  • 8th Street South & East Grand Avenue

Construction crews began work May 22 on this Federally-funded Highway Safety Improvement Program project, which is designed to modernize infrastructure, and increase motorist and pedestrian safety, at one of our busier traffic sites in our community. Work consists of replacing water and sewer mains, new pavement, curb & gutter and sidewalk, and new traffic signals. The entire intersection has been and will remain closed during construction, and both sidewalk and roadway detours have been set up. Traffic signals and pavement were removed throughout the first week of construction; new traffic signal and lighting circuit pull boxes and conduit were installed last week. In addition, the road base was placed and compacted, and underground utility work was completed. Placement of concrete pavement, curb and gutter began this week.

  • Mead Park Splash Pad

Photo by Tom Loucks/WRCM – A groundbreaking ceremony for a new Splash Pad took place in May.

After a festive groundbreaking ceremony on May 10, work begins in earnest July 1 on this recreational experience that promotes the health and wellbeing of neighborhoods and local residents. Anticipated completion is expected this summer or autumn of 2017.

Looking ahead:

Washington Street (8th Street North to 12th Street North)

Beginning sometime during the middle of July, this stretch of Washington Street will undergo a full reconstruction that includes replacing water, storm, and sanitary mains and laterals; installing new pavement, curb & gutter, sidewalk and driveway approaches. Project completion is expected by the middle of October.

Witter Field Aquatics Facility

With a mighty assist from the Mayor’s Youth Council, fundraising efforts have begun for this ambitious regional facility. But the process – and the project – begins with us … gifts are vital to the success of this project.

We’re accepting donations, please click here to find out how to donate.

Centralia Parking Lot

Work begins in August to reconstruct the Centralia parking lot. Construction includes replacing deteriorating concrete sidewalk and curb & gutter, and installing new asphalt pavement with a new driveway entrance at the south end of the parking lot on 3rd Avenue South to help alleviate existing entrance traffic problems at the intersection with Goggins Street. Project completion expected during the month of September.

East Side River Bank Trail

Thanks to a stewardship grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the City has moved forward to improve and stabilize this essential piece of our Downtown Revitalization Plan. The City is expecting to get permit approval from the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers late this summer, with a groundbreaking and anticipated completion in 2018.  The DNR also was impressed with proposed pedestrian safety and connectivity components that foster recreation and tourism, such as linking the recreational trail from East Riverview Expressway up to the Village of Biron, and from the former Elks Building south to the under-bridge Expressway crossing.

Watching the future of Wisconsin Rapids take shape before our very eyes is truly exciting. While there is work yet to be done, our progress even now is to help us put our best “face” forward.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink


Community Update: Aquatics Fundraising Kick-off Continues- Brat Fry & Root Beer Floats Friday, City Taking Action Against Emerald Ash Borer



Take the Plunge; Brat Fry & Root Beer Floats Friday

Our week of taking the “Plunge” for aquatics is almost over, but you still have the chance in our kick-off fundraising event for the Regional Aquatic Center Friday, with a Brat Fry and Root Beer Float Social.

I invite you to join me and City Staff at City Hall from 11am -1pm for a cheery meet-and-greet. Brats, Burgers and Root Beer Floats are available for purchase. Donations are also welcomed!

City Taking Action Against Emerald Ash Borer

City of Wisconsin Rapids crews have been diligently treating trees along our expressway to combat the emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation that was first detected during April of 2016. Due to the treatment process, travel lanes along the expressway have been partially closed.

Wisconsin Rapids crews expect to treat between 100 and 140 public trees this year, with the balance of such trees slated for treatment during 2018. Treatment against EAB is generally effective for about two or three years, at which time another treatment can be applied.

As I related back in March of this year, our goals are to:

  • Delay devastation of current tree stock;
  • Allow time to take down infected trees; and
  • Replant more diverse species of trees. To assist us with this effort – consider a tree sponsorship at

Tom Loucks/WRCM – New trees have been planted along the Expressway to replace the ones that were to heavily infested with EAB.

A State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources matching grant enabled us to prepare a tree inventory and urban forestry management plan, which has allowed us to set proper priorities in dealing with this problem as effectively as possible.

For more general information on EAB, residents can refer to the City website.

If you are interested in finding treatment options for the trees on your property, you can go, here or check out these two links below:

To find further information and guidance regarding options for your property and businesses, call the Department of Public Works at 715-421-8255.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

Community Update: Aquatics Center Fundraising Kicks Off with a Splash



Aquatic Center Fundraising Kicks Off with a Splash

Formally our community began its “plunge” into a new era in Wisconsin Rapids history: We celebrated the kick-off of fundraising for the Regional Aquatics Park at Witter Field with a float at the Cranberry Blossom Fest Parade.

Our theme is, ”Learn, Give, Make a Splash!” – and to that end, we have put together a week’s worth of fun events designed to publicize this effort and spur support:

  • Monday, June 19, 1:30
    & 7:00 p.m.:
    The “Monday Movie @ McMillan Library” presents The Eagle Huntress, an inspiring family film that documents the story of a 13-years-old girl who, with the coaching of her father, tries to become the first girl from her nomadic Mongolian culture to learn to hunt with a trained eagle.
  • Tuesday, June 20, 6:00 p.m.: “City Council takes the Plunge!” City Hall Council Chambers will take on a festive atmosphere, as Council members show up in their finest beach attire to acknowledge their colleagues who have played significant leading roles in making the aquatics plans a reality.
  • Wednesday, June 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: The Aquatics Park Fundraising Marathon will be conducted during my monthly “Morning Magazine” broadcast with WFHR AM1320 radio host Carl Hilke. You can donate during the live Facebook, radio and Charter Ch. 985/Solarus 3 simulcasts.
  • Thursday, June 22, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Lunch By The River – Join members of the Mayor’s Youth Council to “Give and Learn” more about the project.
  • Friday, June 23, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Brat Fry and Root Beer Float Social – I invite you to join me and City Staff at City Hall for a cheery meet-and-greet. Donations are welcomed and will be accepted!

This is the time for all citizens to step forward and contribute to making our long-held vision of a modern, high-quality aquatics facility a resoundingly successful dream-come-true!

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

Community Update: Let’s Celebrate! 10th Annual Cranberry Blossom Festival 



Come Out and Celebrate our Blossoming Area! 10th Annual Cranberry Blossom Festival 

I warmly welcome one and all this week to help celebrate the start of our City’s summer season: the 10th Annual Cranberry Blossom Festival, Thursday through Sunday, June 15-18. More than 20 events offer residents and visitors of all ages a choice of live music, colorful pageantry, games, exhibits and foods from local vendors, to name a few. It’s all climaxed by:

Our grand Cranberry Blossom Festival Parade 

In addition, I personally invite families and their young ones to take in Kids to Park Day, on Saturday June 17, at Robinson Park.  From 1 to 3 p.m., the Mayor’s Youth Council will host a series of fun activities such as kick ball, disc golf, arts & crafts, and more. Check out the video by Travis Plowman/WRCM with our Youth Council to get a preview of the upcoming Kids to Parks Day.

Also, Youth Council members will be accepting donations to raise funds for the Regional Aquatics Park, to be located at Witter Field. It’s an opportunity for you to combine good times with the good feeling that comes from contributing to a lasting community legacy.

To find out how you can make a donation to the Regional Aquatics Park click, here.

A complete schedule and description of Festival highlights is right here:

Make plans to join family and friends for all the fun at this year’s 10th Annual Cranberry Blossom Festival!

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

Community Update: Relax and enjoy the sights & sounds of the City Band, City Again Supports Summer Camp for Area Youth



Relax and enjoy the sights & sounds of the City Band

The Wisconsin Rapids City Band has a rich tradition in Wisconsin Rapids celebrating 154 years of providing musical entertainment for all ages to enjoy outdoors at Robinson Park. Last year, we we’re proud to break a 10 year spell of not contributing to help make this program possible through a City sponsorship. We did it again this year! I will be taking part in the excitement this year by introducing the band’s new conductor Keith Olson, who replaced Bob Kaiser who retired from the band last year.

Photo by Tom Loucks/WRCM
Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink introduces the Cranberry Princesses during the  the first City Band concert in 2016 at Robinson Park.

I encourage all ages to get outdoors by taking part in a concert series this season. The summer series kicks off tomorrow evening June 13, at 7:15 pm.  Please take note two concerts this year are being held at two separate locations; Centralia Center on the 4th of July and the benefit concert on Sunday, August 6, in the Performing Arts Center.  If there is inclement weather, all concerts are held at the PAC at 7:45 pm.

You can watch the concert series from your car or bring a lawn chair, but we also have benches and a dance floor if you wish to take part in.

Below is a list of the concert series:

  • June 13 – 7:15 p.m. Robinson Park *City Sponsored*
  • June 20 – 7:15 p.m. Robinson Park
  • July 4 –  7 p.m. Centralia Center
  • July 11-  7:15 p.m. Robinson Park
  • July 25 – 7:15 p.m. Robinson Park
  • August 1 (Dance Concert)  –  7:15 p.m. Robinson Park
  • August 5 – (Special Benefit Concert) 2 p.m. Performing Arts Center

City Again Supports Summer Camp for Area Youth  

For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin Rapids City Council voted to support a Summer Camp program for youngsters ages 6 to 12, in collaboration with South Wood County YMCA and Mead Charter Elementary School.

The camp will offer activities from now through August 31, providing a variety of fun recreational, academic and mentoring experiences that will enable kids to stay motivated, active and entertained.

To register, stop in at either of the Wisconsin Rapids YMCA location, at 1421 Pepper Avenue, or call 715-887-3240 for more information.

Watch the video below to see the 2016 YMCA Summer Camp.

Volunteers Needed to Pitch In and Support Recycling Rangers

Volunteers are wanted to help clean up before, during and after civic events. This summer, the Recycling Rangers ask you to join in several opportunities to enhance our City’s eye appeal to visitors from far and wide.   For more information on how you can volunteer, contact Carol Davis at 715-459-6642, or Bill Clendenning at 715-423-2469, Or, you can sign up now, right here.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

Community Update: WRPD on the Lookout for Kids “Caught Being Safe”



WRPD on the Lookout for Kids “Caught Being Safe”

The WRPD has joined forces with Safe Kids Wood County and local businesses to launch “Caught Being Safe.” This fun, summer-long program rewards children who make safe choices.

If you know any children in the Wisconsin Rapids area, remind them that the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department (WRPD) will be keeping an eye on them this summer.

The WRPD has joined forces with Safe Kids Wood County and local businesses to launch “Caught Being Safe.” This fun, summer-long program rewards children who make safe choices.

Safety Officer Eric J. Daven of the 
Wisconsin Rapids Police Department and Tom Loucks – WRCM Multimedia Coordinator talk about the new program.

During the campaign, WRPD officers will be on the lookout for children who make wise decisions, such as wearing their bike helmet, using bike lights, crossing the street in the crosswalk or wearing a life jacket while swimming. These smart kids will receive coupons from the officers, redeemable for various treats.

In addition, WRPD officers will carry bike helmets in their vehicles to hand out to community youth who are in need.

We are grateful to community business sponsors who are supporting “Caught Being Safe”: Culver’s, Dairy Queen, Dairy Treat, McDonald’s, Rocky Rococo and Salt & Peppa’s Drive-in. Their generosity works hand in glove with the goals of WRPD and Safe Kids Wood County to help keep our young ones free from injury.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink