Community Update: Holiday Greetings; Share favorite Holiday light displays

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Holiday Greetings

Once again, we approach that time of year when we strengthen and renew cherished ties with family, neighbors and friends. As we share the joy of glad tidings, we also experience the sense of fulfillment that comes from heartfelt generosity.

Click on the image to learn more about the plans for an Aquatic Center in Wisconsin Rapids.

Click on the image above to make your donation for a new Aquatic Center in Wisconsin Rapids.

 Our appreciation for the season grows when we consider the many voluntary gifts of time, caring and support that selfless individuals render to build and strengthen our community throughout the year.After a year in which the active engagement of local residents has helped us to make tremendous strides in revitalizing our community, I urge you to remain involved. One outstanding way to contribute to the ongoing spirit of support is by making a tax-deductible investment in your community – namely, the Wisconsin Rapids Aquatic Center. Buoyed by the impact of each and every donation, we can make the dream of a world-class, regional facility a reality in 2019.

I am proud of the culture of giving that the City of Wisconsin Rapids has always reflected. As we nurture and sustain that tradition, I wish for each one of you a festive and cheerful holiday season.

Mark and find your favorite holiday lighting displays around the area with our SeeClickFix App. Click on the image to download the App, or use this link: https://goo.gl/i9xrGS.

And if you’re looking for holiday lighting displays around town this holiday season, download the SeeClickFix app and check out the Rapids Pride section to locate and share your favorite holiday light displays.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Zoning Code rewrite progressing toward council consideration; Youth Council Kicks off it’s year with Zoo Project

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Youth Council kicks off school year with focus on Zoo Master Plan

The Mayor’s Youth Council kicked off its 2017-18 year by welcoming new members, and by learning about the Municipal Zoo Master Plan project and what they can do to get involved.

This fall, Youth Council members toured the zoo, gathering information and discussed master plan details with the Community Development Department, leading the project. Youth Council members will work with parents and area youth to develop a specific project with the zoo, and/or choose one of the master plan improvement ideas as the focal point for their efforts.

The goal for the Zoo Master Plan is to provide a long-term vision for the facility, complete with objectives related to design, budgeting and implementation phases.

Community Development began by performing an analysis to identify the zoo’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Issues included some dated features and deficiencies in walking path flow and some water features.

Encouragingly, this analysis also pinpointed enhancement opportunities to increase use of the Oak Grove picnic area, seek a signature/feature exhibit, activate the entrance area (promenade idea, food carts, etc.), and add to the “silo” exhibit where the lemurs typically are.

We plan to continue gathering information from various age groups, particularly our youth, over the next couple of months. That input will then be incorporated into the final master plan.

On a personal note, I look forward to the Mayor’s Youth Council bringing the same energy and creativity to this effort as they have to such initiatives as neighborhood beautification and Aquatic Center fundraising.

Zoning Code rewrite progressing toward council consideration

The City of Wisconsin Rapids initiative continues apace to draft a new code to guide growth and development in a manner that reflects zoning and planning best practices. After two years of dialogue and valuable input among members of the Planning Commission and residents, we have developed consensus on the concerns and needs of our citizens that need to be addressed in the rewrite.

The initial draft of the zoning map has been presented to the Plan Commission for review and comment. The Planning & Zoning Commission is expected to continue reviewing key parts of the draft code throughout this month.

When completed, the new zoning code will be readable and understandable. It will be integrated into other land-use regulations as outlined in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and be internally consistent, with no overlapping or contradictory provisions. Graphics and drawings will be used to increase reader comprehension.

Adding to our momentum is the fact that the City’s Comprehensive Plan update is moving in lockstep with the zoning rewrite. The draft, a Long-range Plan Map was also submitted for initial review by the Commission and will come back in November. If all goes according to plan, the draft would be presented to the Common Council for initial feedback sometime during January 2018, with public hearings to follow.

The purpose of the comprehensive plan is to provide a 20-year vision and rational basis for local land use and economic development decisions. This incorporates such priorities as housing; transportation; utilities and community facilities; and agricultural, natural and cultural resources.

As we continue along the path to a zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan that meet the needs of a growing and dynamic community, we encourage you to stay informed, by contacting Adam Tegen, Director of Planning & Economic Development, at 715-421-8225, or at ategen@wirapids.org. Or visit http://www.wisconsin-rapids-zoning.civitekprojects.com/ for more information on the process!

Thanks for reading!

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Celebrate the spirit of the season at City Hall, Spread holiday cheer as a volunteer

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Celebrate the spirit of the season with us at City Hall

Glad tidings and cheer will mark the evening of Thursday, December 14, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. That’s when we’ll welcome local residents to join us in celebrating the season, and the work of our City officials and staff, at our annual City Hall Holiday Open House, in our Lobby at 444 W. Grand Avenue.

You’ll experience “season’s greetings”-style entertainment from the Lincoln High School Chamber Singers. And for younger ones, Santa Claus will be on hand to help keep spirits bright.

Bring a cash, food or toy donation, and your young ones will be able to have a free photo with Santa. All donations will benefit the food pantry, The Family Center, Wisconsin Rapids Area Boys & Girls Club and the Firefighters Toy Drive.

In addition, you can tour City Hall, visit City departments, and learn more about how we serve you and fellow citizens throughout the year.

For more information, call 715-421-8216, or email jclark@wirapids.org.

I look forward to seeing you!

2018 Winter Recreation Guide now available

The 2018 Winter Parks and Recreation Guide is now available! Registration opens December 15th. Check out the guide here!

Spread holiday cheer as a volunteer

Local citizens looking for ways to “give back” to their community this holiday season can find golden opportunities through the United Way of Inner Wisconsin Volunteer Center.

Graphic submitted by United Way of Inner Wisconsin – Please click on the photo to see the Holiday volunteer opportunities.

The Volunteer Center offers a varied selection of seasonal volunteer opportunities – from serving meals or caring for homeless pets, to making crafts for shut-ins or visiting seniors who would welcome a friendly face.

Photo submitted by United Way of Inner Wisconsin

I strongly encourage you to take time right now to browse the Center’s online database of holiday volunteer needs. You can also call 715-421-0390 or email angie@uwiw.org.

And, don’t forget there are other ways to spread cheer to your fellow residents. You can also help support the work of the Volunteer Center with a year-end financial donation to United Way of Inner Wisconsin, here

Let us do our share to help ensure “Happy Holidays” for all!

Thank you for reading!

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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