By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Mayor Zach Vruwink updated the Parks & Recreation Committee on the progress of the coming aquatics center to Witter Field on Wednesday night.
According to the Mayor, plans are shifting towards the construction document phase, which has a hopeful completion of December of this year, or January of 2018. Confirmed is the likelihood that construction on the center will not begin until sometime in 2018.
While these plans have stayed mostly unchanged from earlier meetings, the estimated cost has increased to a $12 million dollar project due to other projects that have come in around the state. However, city officials are optimistic that this goal can be met through fundraising and private/philanthropic donors.
“The majority of the donors have been employers and larger businesses,” said Vruwink. “Feedback has ranged from frustration of ‘why are we still discussing this’ from 20 years ago and 20 years later ‘why haven’t we done it?’ — It’s exciting that people still share that sentiment.”
The aquatics center is not just attracting local businesses, but businesses from nearby municipalities have expressed interest in the facility, requesting presentations from the city. Employers are looking at the facility from a recruitment and retention standpoint.
“I think the unifying voice that has come through is that it’s time — the community has needed this for a long time, so now let’s corral our efforts and get behind it.”
City council members voted to put $5.5 Million towards the project, with the rest made up through donations and fundraising efforts.
Announced at the meeting for next week is a special ‘Aquatics Fundraising Week’ that will begin on Sunday, June 18. The week will see city officials participate in fundraising efforts in everything from involvement in the Blossomfest parade, Lunch by the River, Rafters games, and more.
“Comments on the site are generally positive…we’re going to have a fun time announcing to the community that we’re formally in fundraising mode.”
For more information on the aquatics center specifics, please click here.