Community Update: Alexander Field closed, with more renovations and expansion in view; Step up your recycling and contribute to a “green” community



Alexander Field temporary closure, with more renovations and expansion in view

It was gratifying to join airport manager Jeremy Sickler, other governmental officials and area residents this past May in a groundbreaking ceremony that kicked off another round of improvements at Alexander Field- South Wood County Airport. As part of the improvements, Alexander Field-South Wood County Airport experienced a complete closure October 8 with anticipated re-opening around the 28th. During this time, air traffic will be temporarily diverted to surrounding airports.

Acknowledging the role that Alexander Field plays in area economic activity for area business and leisure travelers- a conduit for visitors to Sand Valley Golf Resort, both the State of Wisconsin Biennial Budget and the Federal government are supporting airport enhancements to promote safety and promote greater economic activity. Recently completed projects included partial construction of Parallel Taxiway B (east half of runway 12/30), to promote more efficient aircraft circulation and improve connectivity between hangars and runways; and reconstruction of runway 12/30 to build up its base for heavier aircraft and widen it from 50 to 60 feet.

The next phase involves tripling the size of the apron to increase parking and enhance circulation for more and larger aircraft, and overlaying primary Runway 02/20 (the long north-south runway) postponing very expensive reconstruction until far into the future. Apron expansion.jpg

To complete the enhancements, Parallel Taxiway A next spring will be expanded to the entire length of Runway 02/20, reducing the possibility of accidental aircraft encounters, promotes and improving efficiency and apron-runway connectivity.  Planning for the development of a corporate hangar area is also under consideration.

As business and leisure travelers associated with Sand Valley Golf Resort’s continued expansion, growing potential exists for investment and development in this area. The improvements, funded in large part by State and Federal resources, of Alexander Field-South Wood County Airport supports the vision of making ours a vibrant community in which to live, work and play.

Step up your recycling, and contribute to a “green” community

The updated recycling program introduced in January of 2017 has enabled Wisconsin Rapids residents to conveniently co-mingle all recyclable items inside single-stream recycling carts.  This program has greatly aided the City’s effort to collect recyclables in a safe and efficient manner, and to help ensure a sustainable future for our community.

Single-stream recycling collection has diverted a substantial amount of recyclables from our landfill. In fact, a comparison of the January to September period for 2018 indicates an increase in recycling participation (888.94 tons) over the same period in 2016 (615.99 tons) and 2017 (865.92 tons).

But let’s not rest on our laurels. Single-stream recycling is easy, and I personally encourage all our residents to take full advantage of this opportunity to enhance our city’s efforts to live “green.” For more information, please call 715-421-8218.

Thank you 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: 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: Wheelers Chevrolet Expansion Reaffirms Commitment to Wisconsin Rapids, Pitch In and Support Recycling Rangers



Wheelers Chevrolet Expansion Reaffirms Commitment to Wisconsin Rapids

img_2805.jpgAnother major business expansion signals that our vision of Wisconsin Rapids as a place for renewed investment and prosperity is becoming a reality.

This past Thursday, Wheelers Chevrolet of Wisconsin Rapids broke ground on a new facility, to be located on the northwest corner of West Grand Avenue and 25th Avenue North. This state-of-the-art site will be an expansion of its current business, at 2250 W. Grand Avenue, and will offer new-vehicle sales, service and parts.

The project covers just over 22,000 square feet, with an estimated budget of more than two million dollars. Even more exciting is that this is just the first of three building projects the Wheelers Family Auto group has planned for the West Grand Avenue corridor of Rapids. A new body shop is going up during the spring of 2018, and a new Buick GMC store will be constructed in 2019. This expansion will add jobs and increased tax base to our community.

The Wheelers Group worked to bring Chevrolet back to the Wisconsin Rapids market in June of 2015, after that auto brand had been absent from our new-car market for some seven years. This was a huge risk, but family matriarch Ann Wheeler truly believed in Wisconsin Rapids and its potential to successfully support an enterprise of this magnitude. In participating in the groundbreaking, I can confidently state her vision shined down on the occasion.

Speaking on behalf of our entire community, I welcome this latest expression of confidence and investment by the Wheeler family.

Welcome to Wisconsin Rapids!

Pitch In and Support Recycling Rangers

File photo

The Recycling Rangers need your help!

This dedicated group of residents volunteers 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 your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with a t-shirt, plastic gloves and a lighten-the-load tool!

Special summer events we need you to volunteer for:

  • Cinema Under the Stars – Thursday, June 15
  • Friends of Rapids Musical Festival – Saturday, June 17
  • Wisconsin Rapids 4th of July Fireworks – Tuesday, July 4
  • Wisconsin State Waterski Show – Thursday-Sunday, July 20-23
  • Labor Day Celebration – Monday, September 4
  • Grand Affair – Sunday, September 10

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. Tell family, friends and associates about Recycling Rangers, too.

Our City thanks you for your help.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

Rapids recycles


 I am pleased to announce the City of Wisconsin Rapids has received an award from the Department of Natural Resources for having the most cost effective recycling program in our region! We are among Madison and others as the most cost effective program in the West Central Region of the state, based on data collected from annual reports on outreach and pounds collected.

Our Public Works Superintendent, James Borski, recently received a letter from the Recycling Program at the DNR congratulating the City on achieving the Recycling Excellence Award for “Superior performance in 2012.”

The Recycling Excellence Awards are part of a program designed by the state to increase interest in recycling and offer a positive experience for local governments in Wisconsin’s recycling program. The goal is to encourage and reward communities for doing great recycling work while also driving friendly competition to improve programs.

While the City’s average collection rate of 14% remains well below the national average of 34%, we now are faced with a challenge to scale our collection program without scaling our costs! Expect more information on how we can approach this challenge as we move into 2014.

You can find more information on the recycling recognition program here.