City council rescinds decision on further geo-restricting aquatic center
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – During a July 24 special meeting, the Wisconsin Rapids city council rescinded their July 21 decision to further geo-restrict traffic coming into the new aquatic center.
The meeting was called to consider a request by Alder Jay Bemke to reverse the action to restrict access to the Wisconsin Rapids Aquatics center effective July 25.
The move limited access to city residents, those non-residents who purchased season passes by July 21, and municipalities that contributed towards the aquatics center
Mayor Shane Blaser stated that by rescinding the action, that meant it would be voided and the previous restrictions that were in place would be in effect.
The council then had the opportunity to take other action.
Alder Steve Koth apologized to city staff for the complications created by the July 21 action by the council.
“The intent of the motion, and the reason I voted the way I did is because during this pandemic, our city residents have limited options of where to go during this time,” he said. “There are other municipalities who have not opened their pools at all this season; other municipalities that if they do open up, they have geo-restrictions on their pool. So, if our pool is full, and we are turning away residents, they don’t have a lot of options on where to go.”
Koth added that while he wanted to look out for city residents, there were other resulting factors that needed to be taken into consideration.
The council voted 6-0, with Alders Jake Cattanach and Scott Kellogg absent, to rescind the July 21 action, before turning the discussion to increasing the 2020 season limit from 400 to 450.
The 400 limit was originally put in place as a recommendation of the Wood County Health Department to limit the facilities to 50 percent of its design, due to COVID-19.
The council then voted to increase that number by 50, pending health department approval. The vote tied at 3-3, which was then passed by the mayor’s tie-breaking vote.
The facility remains open to residents from: the city of Wisconsin Rapids, village of Vesper, town of Hansen, town of Cranmoor, city of Nekoosa, village of Biron, village of Port Edwards, village of Rudolph, town of Rudolph, town of Grand Rapids, town of Port Edwards, town of Saratoga, town of Seneca, town of Sigel, and members of the Ho-Chunk Nation.