By Joe Bachman
Robert Nash is running for mayor.
WRCT: Why are you running for mayor?
RN: I served on the Wisconsin Rapids city council for fifteen years , from April of 1999 until April of 2014, when I chose not to run for reelection. During those fifteen years I gained vast experience and understanding of city government and city operations as a whole. Running for mayor has always been something I considered, but my two year term as alderperson coincided with the two year mayoral term. I served on all three city standing committees: human resources, finance, and public works. I served as chairman of each committee , and was elected council president twice.
WRCT: What are your thoughts on the current Riverfront project, and would you do anything to alter the plans in any form?
RN: In regards to the Riverfront project, I am attempting to gather information as to why the council is buying property. One in particular is the $100,000 paid for an office building on 2nd Street between Big Al’s Tavern and The Body Shop. I do hope that the council has a solid development and marketing plan for the triangle property, however, as most of those discussions took place in closed sessions, it would be hard for me to say if I would alter any possible plans that I do not have information about. I believe paying over $100,000 to a New York company to draw pictures of the riverbank was a big waste of money. I feel Veterans Park and the rest of the East Side River Corridor is somewhat under utilized, but I feel more internal and community discussion should have taken place prior to commissioning an out of State contractor at such an enormous expense.
WRCT: Bringing jobs into Wisconsin Rapids have been in recent local discussions — what would you propose to bring jobs into Wisconsin Rapids?
RN: Bringing good paying jobs to the area is an ongoing issue, and I don’t believe there is one simple answer. We need to be more business friendly to our existing business owners, and not be afraid to be more proactive reaching out to new development that some council members may feel does not fit their own visual foot print of Wisconsin Rapids. This is whether it’s the 8th Street corridor going South, Highway 54 going North, or West Grand Avenue. I don’t feel the development of a CAFO is in the best interest of any city, town, or village in our area. The environmental implications far out weigh the few jobs created.
WRCT: There is a growing and frightening heroin problem in Wisconsin Rapids. How would you propose addressing this ongoing issue?
RN: The war on drugs is a issue that has been going on since the 1960’s be it marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, meth, and now heroin. It is a problem that needs to be addressed, and the city council needs to give the police department the money and resources to deal with this growing problem.