By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Tuesday’s Finance & Property meeting carried many notable items that were approved by city staff. Here is a rundown of said approved items, which will seek final approval at next Tuesday’s common council meeting.
Grant Request to be Submitted for Police Body Cameras
City officials approved the submission of a federal grant request in the amount of $38,757 in efforts to equip the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department with body cameras. This grant is a part of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which will fully outfit all officers with body worn cameras. The grant would pay for 17 body cameras, a dedicated server, and all necessary electrical equipment.
“I’m hopeful we get this because we’re looking to put cameras on our officers to open up accountability and transparency while serving the public.” said Police Chief Erman Blevins to committee members. “In past experiences, the officers in my previous department wouldn’t go on the road if their cameras weren’t on.”
Heart of Wisconsin “Friday the 13th Halloween Extravaganza”
A special events permit was approved for the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s “Friday the 13th Halloween Extravaganza” event. Held on Oct. 13, the event will take place at Veterans Memorial Park, and seeks to be a family-friendly Halloween event. Halloween games, food vendors, photo booths and an exuberant amount of Halloween candy is to be expected for this occasion. The area will see some road closures due to the event.
“The idea is to highlight local businesses in the community, and for people to know about them, as well as give the families a fun trick-or-treating event.” said event organizer Steph Schmid.
Central Wisconsin BMX Finals to be Held in Rapids
Central Wisconsin BMX will hold their North Central Gold Cup Finals right here in Wisconsin Rapids on Sept. 22-24. This three-day event will be a competition for the championship title of the Gold Cup Series. The event is expected to draw up to 2,000 people over the weekend. City officials unanimously approved the special event request made on behalf of the Central Wisconsin BMX.
Grant Submission Request Approved for EAB Treatment
Treating and possibly removing trees infected with emerald ash borer can get pricey, and the city will request a $25,000 grant from the DNR Urban Forestry Grant program to help offset costs. The grant will carry a local match of $25,000, which will be appropriated in the 2018 city budget.
According to city documents outlining infected emerald ash borer trees: “Cost for treatment is estimated to be between $6.50 and $7.25/inch, or around $84 to treat a 12” ash tree. Treatment is the most economical and desirable solution vs. removal and replanting an otherwise healthy ash tree. The city will need to spend an estimated $30,000 for treatment and $20,000 for removal and disposal of infected trees.”
City Approves the Purchase of Former Eagles Club
City officials approved the purchase of a property on 161 Third St. North, otherwise known as the former Eagles Club. The city will look to potentially rent the property to qualified tenants, and will purchase the building at a cost of $85,000. Funding will come from a combination of $20,000 worth of tax incremental financing, and a dividend insurance check awarded to the city in the amount of $65,000.
“They [Eagles Club] came to the city over the last couple of months with an interest to sell the property to the city,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “It is consistent with the city’s downtown plan to consider for redevelopment — when the Eagles Club approached the city, it made perfect sense to engage in discussion for the acquisition.”