Community Update: Did you know City sidewalks must be cleared of snow AND ice?


Did you know City sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice?

The sporadic snowfalls & thaw events we receive affirms that, “Well … it is Wisconsin!” It also reminds us that, as City residents, we must help ensure the safety of our fellow citizens by doing our best to keep public walkways free of snow and ice.

Our City Ordinance 6.15 states: “It shall be the property owner’s duty to remove snow and ice from sidewalks that are located in the street right-of-way which abuts an owner’s property within 24 hours from the end of each weather event. A weather event shall mean: any weather condition that causes a sidewalk to be partially or fully covered in snow or ice regardless of depth.  It’s also unlawful to push or deposit snow from their personal driveway or parking lot into public streets or alleys.”  

The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department is asking for residents to help keep ice and snow cleared around fire-hydrants.

You can also do your part to help your neighbors by clearing snow and ice away from a fire-hydrant near your property incase a fire would occur in your neighborhood.

Also, through the winter season, Public Works staff will be working in cooperation with the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department to monitor streets and focus on keeping the major roads in reasonable winter driving conditions.  If a Snow Emergency takes place you can find information on our City website, Facebook page and Community Media sites.

Let each of us do our part by keeping our roads in safe winter driving conditions and you can do the same with our walkways to help make this winter as danger-free as possible for all.

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink



Community Update: Honor crossing guards during Recognition Week, January 22-26, McMillan solar installation already paying dividends



Honor crossing guards during Recognition Week, January 22-26

As Mayor, I am proud to, once again, call on all or citizens to carve out time to honor those responsible for ensuring safe passage for some of our most precious citizens: our children. Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week takes place January 22-26.

These dedicated, caring and thoughtful individuals deserve appreciation from parents, neighbors, law enforcement officials and motorists. They navigate traffic and inclement weather to guide young people, and help to teach them safe pedestrian behaviors – lessons that will continue to impact their lives as they grow older.

Parents, teachers, students and school administrators can draw from these special-activity ideas to recognize the adults who serve as crossing guards in our area. Electronic versions of the 2017 Crossing Guard Recognition poster also are available for local printing, here.

Please use Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week as your opportunity to express your gratitude for the individuals who help keep our young ones safe, to and from school.

McMillan solar installation already paying dividends


McMillan Memorial Library Director Andy Barnett has been very involved in the solar initiative at the library.

Last summer, McMillan Memorial Library displayed leadership in pursuing a cost-efficient future fueled by sustainable energy, with the installation of roof the largest solar power production unit in central Wisconsin. The library’s Board partnered with locally owned Viking Electric to install the 235 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array.

From the time the array went active through the end of the year, it produced approximately 55,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), with 10,000 kWhs being used by the community. Even in the relatively “dark” months of November (28 percent) and December (11 percent), the array produced a significant amount of the electricity the library uses.

McMillan Library purchases the power at a reduced rate from Viking Electric, which sells any power not consumed by the library to Wisconsin Rapids Water Works & Lighting (WWLC) for community use. Especially on sunny days, and on Sundays when the library is closed, this renewable energy replaces fossil-fuel-based electricity the utility would otherwise purchase. A financial analysis performed by WWLC staff indicates that this investment can save McMillan Library more than $300,000 in operational costs.

Viking Electric funded 70 percent of the cost and owns the solar array for the first six years and benefits from various tax credits. Once the tax credits are expired, McMillan will purchase the project or about 30 percent of the original cost, which the library plans to finance through an ongoing fundraising campaign. A generous donor has pledged to match all contributions, so it the library is already more than half the way to funding the eventual purchase of the project.

As the first and only solar installation on a City building, the McMillan Memorial Library demonstrates the power of renewable energy, providing an educational opportunity while saving taxpayer dollars.

ICYMI: 17 Best of 2017! Video here; full list here.

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink


Community Update: 17 for ’17 – Highlights of Our City’s Progress, Community Survey is open – share your opinion



17 for ’17 – Highlights of Our City’s Change, Progress

The year 2017 saw the City of Wisconsin Rapids, its citizens, and its business and philanthropic communities take strides forward, closer to our vision of a diverse, thriving and welcoming area that offers people of all ages the a more impressive place to call ‘home’. These achievements top the list of the many that our City realized last year.

Check out the video below to find see the top 17 achievements in 2017 along with a more in-depth look into the projects available to read, here.

Community Survey is open – share your opinion

What’s important to you? What are your hopes and concerns for our community?

Share your opinion to help shape our future.

In 2012, Incourage led the first ever Community Survey to help better understand the hopes and concerns of our residents, and to identify priorities for our community. Now, with citizen engagement and active interest in community revitalization on the upswing, Incourage has partnered with nationally recognized researchers to again conduct the survey to see what has changed.

Take the survey here. Paper copies are also available at Incourage’s office at 478 East Grand Avenue, or by calling 715-423-3863.

I encourage residents of all ages throughout the south Wood County area to take 10 minutes to express their thoughts by completing the Community Survey. Survey deadline is Monday, January 15.

Share your opinion … and help shape our future.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink