Wrapping up in Rapids: An update with Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink
By Taylor J. Hale
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Mayor Zach Vruwink spoke with City Times staff to give an update on all things Wisconsin Rapids. This week, Vruwink discussed airport commission projects, updates on the Rafters, and more.
Airport commission seeks land annexation, temporary zoning changes
Council members voted 5-3 against an annexation measure that would allow a coming air hanger on South Wood County Airport land to use city water and sewer systems last week.
“We might have this great hanger, but we won’t be able to occupy it because it could have no utilities,” said Vruwink, who is an airport commission member.
The council also rejected a commission request for annexation in 2019. Vruwink said that if the city does not reconsider, the hanger could have to utilize a private water and sewer system, costing over $250,000. The airport commission could use state funding for the system, but Vruwink said that it could take roughly three years and see other maintenance projects deferred.
Rafters stay in Wisconsin Rapids
Vruwink is excited to see the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters sign another 10-year contract keeping the team in the city until at least 2030.
The lease agreement also involves new updates that are slated to hit Witter Field this year.
“The field will get a new outfield fence and receive some padding to promote player safety,” Vruwink said.
The changes follow the sale of the team to Joe and Vince Fonti, current owners of the Furniture & Appliance Mart and Ashley Homestore brands.
Vruwink said that the brothers are committed to improving the Rafters fan experience and “continuing the tradition of affordable and family-friendly baseball.”
The city has completed all documentation and requests to FEMA for reimbursement funding for the July 20 storm. Roughly $500,000 in FEMA funding will be allocated to the town to help cover past storm issues and future cleanup projects.
“This includes funds for already done work, and funding other clean-up efforts,” Vruwink explained.
Vruwink expects to see cleanup projects resume this spring and summer.
Check the Wisconsin Rapids City Times for biweekly updates with Mayor Zach Vruwink.