WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WSAU) - The early part of January traditionally has the State of the Union and the State of the State address from the President and the Governor. One central Wisconsin mayor gave his State of the City speech Wednesday night.
Mayor Zachary Vruwink in Wisconsin Rapids is not yet finished with his first year in office, and spent about 40 minutes updating residents and fielding questions. His message was to make city government as transparent as possible, and to take steps to create jobs and improve the local economy.
One of the steps is to get involved in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Certified Sites program so potential developers can choose shovel ready land with utilities readily available. “Getting ourselves on the map is essential. We realize our city industrial parks with available land, (offer) unique amenities compared to those in other parts of the state. The WEDC also recognizes this. Through submission of our Rapids East Commerce Center to the Certified Sites Program, we will do just that.”
Vruwink says the city also has an opportunity to attract new business with the redevelopment of blighted and brownfield properties.
The Mayor outlined three points he believes are essential for Wisconsin Rapids to grow and thrive. “The first, organizations need to be aligned around a common strategy. The second, government needs to be ready to make infrastructure investments. And the third, businesses realize they need to be heard, but they also need to participate.”
Vruwink wants to see the city get more jobs and give young people a reason to stay or return to Wisconsin Rapids after college to utilize their skills.
The Mayor also expressed a goal to utilize technology to let citizens communicate with government at any time, and to use these tools to obtain services, get permits, and pay taxes without having to travel to city hall.
Vruwink plans to make the State of the City address an annual event.