Rhinelander mayor outlines 2023 accomplishments
For the Star Journal
RHINELANDER – In an open letter to city residents Mayor Kris Hanus detailed accomplishments made in the city over the past year.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the multiple people that have invested in our community to either start – or grow their businesses in our community,” Hanus wrote. “I believe that these improvements – and the addition of fun community events into our community – makes Rhinelander one of the best communities in the Northwoods, if not in the entire State of Wisconsin.”
The following is a copy of Hanus’ list.
Planning/ Zoning/ Inspections
• Approved the site plan to convert the “Rodeway Inn” hotel into multiple housing units.
• Approved the site plan for 10 plus apartment units off of Timber Drive.
• Approved the site plan for 70 plus apartment units off of Driscoll Road.
• Approved a new car wash on Lincoln St.
• Approved a new hotel on Kemp St.
• Updated multiple codes and added multiple policies that will add efficiencies to Planning and Zoning in the City of Rhinelander.
• Hired a full-time Zoning Administrator.
• Moved the Commercial and Residential inspection services back to the Fire Department.
Economic and Community Development
• Multiple new large commercial projects completed; Blain’s; Starbucks; YMCA addition; construction of new airport hangers; WPS gas compression station; Rain car wash, ninety-plus hotel rooms added through the completion of the Holiday Inn Express hotel; the completion of phase one of Settlers Village, a housing development off of Timber Drive; renewed negotiations and meetings with Premier for seventy-two apartment units; received a CDI grant for the creation of twenty new loft apartment units at the former Rodeway Inn hotel.
• All of these with the other multiple new businesses filling in open commercial spaces in our city will provide more options for goods, services, jobs, and revenue to help fund improvements to our streets, parks, police, fire and many other city services.
Parks and Recreation
• The City installed new docks and finished the Amphitheater at Hodag Park.
• The Rhinelander Little League has completely replaced and updated the field at Hodag Park.
• At Pioneer Park we have replaced multiple roofs that were past due. Also, working with local supporters, added an AED near the pickleball courts.
• The city has started the process of adding additional trails for hiking, biking, and snowshoeing at the Heal Creek property.
• At the city golf course, we have reinvested $90,000 in new flooring, replacing the controls for the waterfall, and replaced equipment that was much needed. The City also created an ad-hoc Golf Course Committee, designed to provide feedback and recommendations from players in order to improve this community asset.
• On Timber Drive, we have added roughly a mile long multiple use trail to connect the bypass to Harvey St.
• The Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council completed much needed upgrades and improvements to Hanson Lake Trail system.
• The City also purchased multiple new benches and ADA friendly picnic tables for use throughout various parks and green spaces.
• Stevensport Square received a much-needed face-lift.
• The tree committee and parks staff have planted over 200 new trees throughout the city.
Transparency and Communication
• We launched our new city website which replaced an antiquated web site, thus helping to improve communication with residents.
• Department heads held open forums to answer questions and ask for feedback from the community.
• Increased the use of social media to spread the word about projects and what’s happening in our community.
• Added ADA features to city hall and other city buildings to allow for greater access.
Infrastructure Replacement and Improvement
• Worked with WisDOT for Highways 17 & 8 reconstruction.
• Reconstructed Timber Drive and replaced all utilities underneath and added a multi-use trail.
• Reconstructed Oneida, Anderson, Blackburn, parts of Pelham, Conro, and King streets and replaced all utilities underneath.
• Held contractors accountable and had warranty work done on Stevens Street.
• Upgraded the Eagle Street lift station.
• Upgraded to Pelham Street lift station.
• Replaced the water main underneath Phillips Street Bridge which was overdue.
• Updated, repaired, and improved Well #5.
• City staff are working with engineers and contractors on a new test well for proposed Well #9.
Other accomplishments in 2023
• Purchased a new ambulance.
• Replaced multiple support vehicles in water, fire, and police departments.
• Consolidated fire and inspections for efficiency and better service to the community.
• Replace multiple pieces of equipment that were long overdue in our streets department.
• Secured funding for future street and utility projects throughout our city.
• Hired a new City Administrator.
• Updated multiple policies and ordinances to increase efficiency and transparency, to become more community friendly.
• Purchased multiple new devices to help slow traffic and make the city safer and to increase walkability.
• Provided a livable cost of living adjustment for city employees.
• Held multiple employee engagements and appreciation events.