Mayor Shane Blaser has made a proclamation in observance of Arbor Day. The first Arbor Day in the United States was celebrated in 1872, originated by former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton, of Nebraska. On that day, over a million trees were planted in the state.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The City of Wisconsin Rapids has been named a 2022 Tree City USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its dedication to urban forestry.
Wisconsin Rapids achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program's four requirements: maintaining a tree board or department, having a tree care ordinance, dedicating an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and hosting an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
"Tree City USA communities see the positive effects of an urban forest firsthand,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees being planted and cared for by Wisconsin Rapids are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and extreme heat and flooding. Wisconsin Rapids is helping to address these challenges for its residents through its urban forestry plan.
“Our city is rich with natural beauty and trees that not only add charm, but also support the sustainability efforts in our community. The Tree City USA designation is a symbol of our Park and Recreation Department’s dedication to natural resources and the public’s support of forest sustainability. Thank you to everyone who played a part in securing this designation for another year,” said Mayor Shane Blaser.
More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The City of Wisconsin Rapids has adopted a resolution designating the month of May 2023 as No Mow May, which temporarily relieves property owners of lawn maintenance standards in Chapter 36, Sections 302.4 of City Ordinance. Participation in No Mow May is voluntary and free of charge. City residents and property owners who are interested in participating may do so without registering.
During their March 21st meeting, the Common Council adopted a resolution to suspend the enforcement of Chapter 36, Section 302.4, of City Ordinance city-wide for the month of May 2023. Properties must be brought back into compliance by June 7, 2023, which provides a grace period in recognition of weather or scheduling conflicts. Properties that aren't compliant by the deadline will be subject to regular penalties for long grasses and weeds.
Each City of Wisconsin Rapids property is eligible to receive one free yard sign, but we have a limited number of yard signs available. Please keep your yard sign for future No Mow May programs. Additional yard signs can be purchased for $10 each. Yard signs can be picked up at the Mayor's Office on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 444 West Grand Ave., between 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The City has also designated some spots on city property to leave un-mowed:
The goal of No Mow May is to provide early season forage for native pollinators by reducing our mowing intensity during a month when foraging resources are limited. Allowing lawns to grow longer, without treating them with chemical pesticides or herbicides, leads to an increase in the number and types of native plants, which are a great source of food for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Additionally, it provides important insect habitats for those that are still in diapause (a type of hibernation) in early spring. Weed growth in May is particularly important because many other spring blooms have not yet emerged.
“With 531 registered properties in our first year offering No Mow May, we knew we wanted to offer No Mow May again this year. My office received a lot of positive feedback on this initiative and the yard signs that help explain it. This year, we’re offering the opportunity to our residents without a registration requirement, making it even easier to participate – and surely increasing participation. Yard signs are optional this year, but they are a great way to further promote education around the importance of pollinators,” said Mayor Shane Blaser. “If forgoing all lawn care practices for a month isn’t right for you, there are other ways you could support No Mow May, such as limiting or discontinuing the use of chemicals on your lawn for a few weeks (or even the whole summer), leaving a smaller section of your yard unmowed for a month, or growing a pollinator garden.”
Below are some local resources and programs that are available to learn more about pollinators:
“We, Clean Green Action and Bird City Wisconsin Rapids, and Monarch Encouragement are happy to continue to support the City of Wisconsin Rapids in their No Mow May proclamation and program, and will endeavor to be a resource for those who have questions regarding the benefits of leaving undisturbed lawns during the early days of spring for the benefits of pollinators and subsequently birds and other wildlife. Biodiversity is the key to promoting a better life for all,” said Elizabeth Whelan, with Clean Green Action of Wisconsin Rapids.
Learn more about the No Mow May initiative online here: www.wirapids.org/no-mow-may
Questions about No Mow May or availability of yard signs can be directed to the Mayor's Office at 715-421-8216 or email@example.com.
Questions about lawn care ordinances can be directed to the Community Development Office at 715-421-8228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about how to dispose of residential lawn clippings can be directed to the Street Department at 715-421-8218 or email@example.com.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- The City of Wisconsin Rapids Historic Preservation Commission met for the first time on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The Historic Preservation Commission is comprised of members who have an interest in landmarks, preservation, architecture, and urban design. Members serve for a term of three years. The Historic Preservation Commission has the power to recommend designation of local historic structures, historic districts, and historic sites within City limits, although it is not the intent to create local districts or regulations at this time. The Historic Preservation Commission has several goals slated for the next few years:
1) To receive approval from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to become a Certified Local Government (CLG) community with access to state grant funds.
✓ The City was officially awarded CLG status on March 15, 2023.
2) To apply for state funds to complete a City-wide survey whereby properties and districts that may be good candidates for nomination to the National and State Register of Historic Places can be identified (no local districts or regulations are proposed).
3) Provide the opportunity for eligible homeowners and business owners to receive historic tax credits on home and business improvements if they choose to do so.
The Historic Preservation Commission will meet next on Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 p.m. More information can be found on the Historic Preservation page on the City’s website.
Mayor Shane Blaser has made a proclamation for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week for April 9-15. This observation is held annually during the second week of April. It is to honor public safety telecommunicators for dedicating their lives to public safety, and serving the community.
The week initially started in 1981 by Patricia Anderson out of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office in California.