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City breaks ground on Phase I of Hodag Park Improvement Plan

Katie Thoresen

Surround by city council members and community members, Rhinelander Mayor Kris Hanus kicked off the groundbreaking at Hodag Park Wednesday afternoon.

“This is going to start the redevelopment of this park for the next couple years and make it more of green space friendly for our community,” said Hanus.

Plans for Hodag Park started several years ago when a task force was put together to look at all the parks in Rhinelander.

Janet Jamison was one of the original people on that task force.

“One of big findings is that Hodag Park is kind of considered the crown jewel of Rhinelander’s parks. It’s on beautiful boom lake. It was considered underutilized,” she said.

From that task force the Hodag Park Improvement Plan was born.

The entire plan includes things like more fishing and boating docks, a splash pad, and improved recreation opportunities for bikers and walkers.

Phase One is the stage and ADA accessible walkways to it.

“It’s exciting. It’s exciting to see the dreams and vision become a reality. There were a lot of people involved in the planning and the fundraising for it. Just really excited to see the first event happened at it down here at the park,” said Jamison.

That event could still be this summer.

Depending on the weather, construction should wrap up mid-summer.

Once it’s finished, City Administrator Zach Vruwink is hopeful that it’ll be used for more than concerts and shows.

“The opportunities are endless. Potentially outdoor weddings, family convenings, poetry readings, open mic nights, there’s a whole host of ideas that our community’s already shared with us about how they want to use this feature,” said Vruwink.

Phase One of the project costs $400,000. The city contributed $100,000. An anonymous donor pledged another $100,000 the rest was donated by community members and organizations.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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