Community Update: Rekindle the Spirit brings joy and color to the holiday season; A time to be thankful



Rekindle the Spirit brings joy and color to the holiday season

I invite all residents to gather Downtown on Wednesday, November 22. That is when the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce gets everyone into the holiday spirit, with its annual Rekindle the Spirit Holiday Parade and Celebration.

The festivities begin at 5:45 p.m., with the lighting of decorations in Veteran’s Park, and then rolls into high gear with a colorful, musical parade that starts at the Rapids Mall parking lot and makes its way across Grand Avenue Bridge to 4th Street. After the parade, we invite all to make their way to Hotel Mead for a visit with Santa, live music, and hot chocolate and cookies.

Rekindle the Spirit offers fun for the entire family, so make plans to be on hand.

A time to be thankful

I want to personally thank all the volunteers and public servants throughout our community who have graciously devoted their time, expertise and generosity throughout the year to make Wisconsin Rapids a special place. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and share compassion for all the little things in life that truly make a difference.  I am personally grateful.

For those who don’t have a thanksgiving meal, St Luke’s Lutheran Church will be serving a Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 1:00 pm on Thursday, November 23rd in its fellowship hall. The meal will be served at no charge to anyone in the community who is alone or who is not able to prepare the traditional meal for themselves.

Thanks for reading my blog,

Mayor Zach Vruwink



Community Update: America Recycles Day encourages action for a sustainable future



America Recycles Day encourages action for a sustainable future

As Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, I am asking City residents to join me and millions of Americans throughout the country, today and throughout the year, by actively participating in America Recycles Day

Click on the graphic to download and print a poster for your home.

America Recycles Day is an annual celebration of the many ways all of us can improve recycling habits and help keep our environment clean, safe and sustainable. This year’s theme is #BeRecycled, #BuyRecycled. The focus is that we all do our part to deliver a cleaner stream of recyclables, to encourage local industries to use recyclable materials and recycled content materials when producing their products.

I am proud that Wisconsin Rapids citizens have already demonstrated their commitment to a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Since the introduction of our single stream recyclable collection process during 2017, we have seen a dramatic surge in total recycling tonnage. Through September of this year, we collected 856 tons, well above the 616 tons collected during the same reporting period in 2016. That’s a 39 percent increase! We have more room to grow- be sure to consider all the recyclable materials that you utilize. Check out this infographic link to learn more about what is recyclable.

Consider these other points:

  • The City collects around 1.68 million lbs of curbside recyclable materials annually.
  • The City recycles approximately 8 million lbs of wastewater solids into exceptional quality class A sludge.
  • City collects around 16 million lbs of yard waste every year, which is recycled into compost.
  • All of that added together is massively overshadowed by the 68.4 million lbs of concrete annually the City collects, recycles, and reuses for base coarse on street and infrastructure projects.
  • And all of that is minuscule compared to the 9.2 billion lbs of water recycled annually through the wastewater treatment plant and returned to the environment.

All in all, the City of Wisconsin Rapids recycles around TEN BILLION pounds of materials every year.  Amazingly, every single pound of solid material is handled at least once by City staff – and some 4 or more times.

Together, let us continue to make ours a community that respects and protects the value of our natural assets, for the benefit of residents today and in the future.

So, take the pledge.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink


Community Update: Residents invited to proposed Triangle-site concept follow-up with developer, City workers checking off list of winter preparation projects



Entrepreneurs, Investors invited to proposed Triangle concept follow-up with developer

The City is hosting a follow-up meeting with Gorman representatives at Karen’s Wines and Steins, Wednesday, November 15, from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

I was excited to see the number of area residents and business owners who turned out at Karen’s Wines and Steins on October 23, to learn about and discuss redevelopment opportunities for the Downtown Triangle site. Representatives from prospective developer Gorman & Company, Inc., joined City officials to lead a productive conversation. We currently are exploring a concept that incorporates a market space featuring an anchor tenant, such as one that would feature craft brewers and distillers along with vendors who would rent kiosks to sell goods such as food, art or other creations.

To further the dialogue, the City is hosting a follow-up meeting with Gorman representatives, targeted toward individuals and entities that have a solid interest in this commercial market, or in other types of commercial or office space. This event takes place at Karen’s Wines and Steins, Wednesday evening, November 15, from 4:30 to 6:00, with brief remarks at 5:00. Light appetizers will be provided. If you’re interested but unable to attend, please contact me.

The Triangle Area overlooks the Wisconsin River and our public park spaces, and is ideally suited for residential, office, retail, restaurant and other uses. The City is committed to negotiating with Gorman & Company to determine how best to move this project forward. The Madison-area-based company has a proven track record of success partnering with Wisconsin municipalities on downtown revitalization projects. Our hope is to have a development agreement in place that would allow construction as early as 2018.

I am excited by this partnership opportunity, and we welcome your ongoing presence and input as we pursue our shared vision of sustainable Downtown redevelopment.

City workers checking off list of winter preparation projects

The Wisconsin Rapids Parks & Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works have been checking off a list of projects to help keep our public spaces well maintained throughout the winter season.

The Skate Park along with public bathrooms in parks around the city are now closed for the season and the final mowing of green areas are done until spring. The Witter Field ice skating pond/warming house and the low board hockey pond at Robinson Park will open as weather permits.

Photo by Jesse Austin/WRCM – Leaves must be bagged and placed at the curb by Sunday, November 12 for the last leaf collection by City crews.

Next week, November 13-17 is the last leaf pickup by the Department of Public Works.  Leaves must be bagged and placed at the curb by Sunday prior to the scheduled pick-up. City crews will make one trip through the city and will not go back once they have gone through an area. Leaves and brush can still be brought to one of the two City compost sites at the intersection of highways 54 and W, or at 17th Avenue North, just past Engel Road. 

Also, with freezing weather now, residents should check their recycle carts to ensure lids remain closed, and dump out water that may have accumulated inside the carts. Frozen liquid accumulation can cause cart to expand and crack, increasing the risk of damage during the recycle truck dumping process.

Mayor Zach Vruwink