By Joe Bachman
Todd Ferkey is a current alderman and has been a lifelong resident of Wisconsin Rapids. Ferkey is married with four children, and has formerly worked at local paper mills. He currently owns Exhaust Pros in Wisconsin Rapids.
WRCT: Why are you running for common council again?
TF: I like to be involved and be part of the decision making process. Most of all, I’m a servant – I’ve always been a servant. I served on my church, council, and school board. I have been an usher for 30+ years, a board member of Wisconsin Rapids softball, I’ve sponsored and even coached softball and volleyball.
WRCT: What are your thoughts on the Riverview project?
TF: It’s a large project and the focus is to enhance the downtown and riverfront itself. The downtown area by the bars and flatiron building been economically depressed for many many years, and this has no reflections on past administration or business leaders. However, sitting on our hands doesn’t seem to solve the problems. Having those properties that the city is acquiring, even separate from riverfront will be beneficial. We’re looking at making Wisconsin Rapids a better place to live for people. If you raise a family, you want something for your kids, too. We don’t want to become a bedroom community for Stevens Point and Plover, and that means to develop industry for businesses to come here and become a desirable place for business to come.
WRCT: Address the current heroin problem that Wisconsin Rapids is facing.
TF: Currently I am chairman of the human resources committee and with discussions with police department and the city, the end all would be that the narcotics position would be added to the one we have. The current position is overworked, and he is not in Wisconsin Rapids all of the time. Adding this position is going to make positive steps in assisting in curtailing the heroin and meth problem. It’s not just the user affected – It’s drug user’s family, and the community, as well with burglaries, human trafficking involved, etc. We were able to add this position in a fiscally sound manner and a lot of that funding for the position was done within the budget.
WRCT: A trend has seen younger candidates step into government roles. Is that a trend you would like to see continue?
TF: I very much would encourage a lot of participation in the election process. So many positions now are going unopposed. I made this very clear with mayor and alderman that I would like to see 5 or 6 candidates for each position. We see so much apathy going on and not a lot of interest getting involved. A lot of people want to be Monday morning quarterback and not get involved. Instead of posting on Facebook, let’s get involved in the process, whether it’s young or old candidates, — get involved.
WRCT: How would you contribute to bringing jobs to Wisconsin Rapids?
TF: We all want better roads and better parks and more things to do with Wisconsin Rapids. It all takes money, and nobody wants their taxes raised. In order to get more revenue, we need more businesses to get more people here. Having spent a lot of money getting industrial parks or commerce ready for new businesses to come has set the table for them to come in. They have to have a reason to want to be here. Working on Riverfront will enhance the appeal of city, which is attractive for people who might want to move here. We want to see families stay in this area through generations.