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City Moves Forward With Opening of Aquatics Facility

Andy Berg

After much debate, the City of Wisconsin Rapids has decided to cautiously move forward with the opening of a new outdoor aquatics center.

Wisconsin Rapids mayor Shaw Blaser has announced back in May that the Wisconsin Rapids Regional Aquatic Center, Mead Field Splash Pad and the skate park at Witter Field would open June 29. However, concerns around COVID-19 have now delayed that opening to July 6.

The extra time is to allow contractors to meet newly changed state requirements.

The city council was split on the issue of opening the facility. 

Jacob Chattanach, representative for District 6, said he’d heard from a number of residents who want the facility to open.

Dean Veneman, representative for District 2, said he also received emails and notes from residents who asked him to support opening the aquatic center this year. He also spoke in favor of opening the center with safety restrictions.

Tom Rayome, representative for District 4, expressed concerns about the plan.

"I have a fear we're letting our guard down and we're going to jump right back in," Rayome told the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

Attendance at the facility will be limited upon opening, and extra safety precautions will be in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Capacity will be capped at just under 50 percent, and signs will be posted throughout the facility, and any staff or guests should stay home if they are experiencing symptoms.

Guests will be encouraged to keep at least 6 feet away from those who don't live in the same household. Staff will clean restrooms, showers, seating areas and frequently touched surfaces. Guests will also be encouraged to clean any equipment and areas they use.

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