Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink announced he’ll run for a fifth term.
Mayor Vruwink sent a letter to media Tuesday highlighting the city’s achievements and his plans moving forward. Vruwink has held the seat since 2012.
The Spring Election is April 7.
Below is a copy of the letter sent to media Dec. 3.
When I first ran to be your Mayor, I pledged to Renew Rapids through thoughtful, energetic and engaged leadership. In the years since, progress is evident. My administration has brought a renewed focus to implementing formerly shelved plans, seeking outside investment to support infrastructure, and promoting redevelopment of vacant and blighted properties.
On measures of economic growth and activity, Wisconsin Rapids is on the upswing. Our unemployment has gone from near record highs to now near record lows, our tax base grew by $8 million in the last year with even more expected in 2019. We’re welcoming a record number of overnight visitors (and their spending) in no small part because of our airport investments and community promotion- 2019 is on pace to exceed 2018 levels by 10% and 2020 is predicted to grow another 10%. Our beautiful riverfront is on its way to being a better utilized asset for recreation and resident enjoyment.
Achieving our vision of a more welcoming place to live and raise a family required additional housing. Today amidst our best real estate market in three decades, our housing stock is growing and we are welcoming new residents!
We are promoting ourselves as a place for business opportunities and it’s paying off. We attracted Matalco, a Canadian company, to build a $80 million manufacturing plant here over a dozen other cities because of our reinvestments, business friendliness, and confidence. Our facade improvement program is supporting small businesses and their owners as they increasingly reoccupy vacant storefronts, make investments and create jobs.
Fiscally, we’ve had to prioritize our efforts and seek outside grants to achieve major projects. We’re not waiting to reinvest in critical infrastructure such as our wastewater river crossing replacement, west lift station and miles of renewed local streets. In 2020, our city will again feature an outdoor aquatic recreation center that will offer summer swim activities and programming for all ages . I’m proud our city maintains a near-perfect bond rating as a result of our approach.
At the same time, we continue to face hurdles. Such as the ever-changing world of retail and its impacts to cities like ours. I’m committed to supporting local options and seeking others that would complement and support a healthy marketplace. Aging infrastructure such as Eighth Street, our primary commercial corridor, is showing its age and remains a priority of mine to achieve state support necessary for replacement. This past summer when a severe windstorm hit, an organized city responded and the community came together. This resilience gives me pride and hope for the future. In the months to come, I look forward to discussing the many other challenges and opportunities and how I plan to address them.
Wisconsin Rapids is experiencing a renaissance and I hope to continue the important role as an engaged, forward-looking leader. It would be my honor to continue serving as your Mayor and I invite you to get involved.