Mayor Vruwink Renewing Rapids

Renewing Rapids through civic engagement

Mayor Zach Vruwink, City of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; photo by Casey Lake, Daily Tribune


When Zach Vruwink campaigned to become Wisconsin Rapids’ next mayor, he asked residents for their pledge to “Renew Rapids”. In 2012, he became the City’s youngest mayor at age 24, and was re-elected to a second term in 2014.

“Civic engagement is a vital part of changing a community for the better,” Vruwink emphasizes. “Having people who are engaged brings new, fresh ideas. If we don’t have new blood that’s informing and engaging City officials, then we don’t have a feeder for new thought.”

Mayor Vruwink harnesses this inspired energy through discussion groups that bring citizens together to share ideas in areas they’re passionate about. He calls them “Mayor’s Councils” and he lists beautification, sustainability, redevelopment for new projects and new construction, and developing an entertainment district as primary areas.

“I’ve had interested individuals come to me, saying, ‘I’ve never gotten involved in government before. I’m interested now because I was inspired by your campaign,’” Vruwink says. “In general, feedback has been, ‘Tell me where you need me.’ People want to get involved, but they still may be looking for an invitation. These Mayor’s Councils will provide people with a formalized opportunity for civic engagement.”

Mayor Zach Vruwink – City of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; photo by Casey Lake/Daily Tribune