Neighbors, contractors and City staff are working together to help Riverdale recover following Monday’s fierce storm that saw winds in excess of 90 mph bring down trees and snap power poles, leaving most residents and businesses in the city without power and in some cases, phone and Internet service.
First Responders respond first
Special thanks to Riverdale’s maintenance man, George Miller and seven other members of the Riverdale Fire Department who worked into the night on Monday to make roads passable in the City. They worked on South Bellingham, Elmhurst Lane, South Kensington and at the site of a massive limb completely blocking Circle Drive.
What to do with all the tree limbs and debris?
Clearing the streets of debris was the first priority for the City who ordered the delivery of three dumpsters for resident use on Tuesday. Those dumpsters, located at Volunteer Square Park (in the parking lot), Peggy’s Park (next to the playground) and Fieldcrest Road (at the dead end) are there to collect yard and tree debris only, not for garbage. The dumpsters will be replaced with empty dumpsters on Friday or Saturday and remain through next week and are scheduled for pick-up on August 26.
On Wednesday, following emergency update phone calls between City Administrator Kent Royster, members of the City Council and Mayor, it was decided to engage a private contractor to pick up debris from resident yards this weekend (depending on rainfall on Saturday, pickup may not start until Sunday). The contractor, TJ Schwartz Excavating, will be going from neighborhood to neighborhood with a large dump truck to collect debris from their curbside locations.
Debris should be cut into 5-foot sections so they can be composted at the Scott County Compost Facility. All disposal fees are being waived, so making sure our material can be processed is essential. To make pick-up go as efficiently as possible, we are asking residents to stack the debris as neatly as possible.
Other yard waste can be put in paper bags and left at the curb for Monday pick-up by Republic Services.
Depending on an assessment of the amount of damage in the community on Monday, the City may engage the contractor to come back for another pick-up in the community the weekend of August 22. Please check this website and the Riverdale Resident’s Page on Facebook for further updates.
Cleaning Up the City’s Parks
There was some extensive limb loss in Volunteer Square Park and major tree damage in VanGundy Park. Quercus, the City’s landscape contractor sent an emergency crew to help clean up and care for/remove damaged trees. The Mayor and City Administrator will discuss the extent of the damage with Quercus next week and start formulating a plan to deal with the lost trees for Council review in September.
The playgrounds at Peggy’s Park and Bicentennial Park both appear to be in fairly good shape.
Additional Disaster Relief
City Hall has limited power (thanks to the emergency generator) and while the main office is not air conditioned while operating on emergency power, Council Chambers is. As a result, the City will keep Council Chambers open to the public from 8am – 5pm every week day until power is restored to the City. While in the City’s Council Chambers, residents can re-charge their electronic devices, use the public-access wi-fi and escape the heat.
Occupancy is limited to seven people at a time and those who use the room will be asked to socially distance from one another.
If you have any questions, please call Administrator Royster at 563-355-2511.
Also, for residents who have lost food as a result of the power being shut-off, there is some government assistance available through the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program. The program can help recover the cost of car repairs, food replacement and temporary housing expenses.
You’ll find more about it in this press release from Governor Reynolds’ office. If you or anyone in your family needs help applying for any of these programs, please contact Administrator Royster at City Hall and he can help with the application process.
When Will the Power Come Back On?
Quite possibly the biggest frustration people are feeling at the moment relates to the lack of progress being made on restoring power to homes and businesses in Riverdale. Most residences and many businesses in the city remain without power as of Thursday and may not see power restored until the weekend.
According to Mid-American Energy, a little over 2/3rds of the residents in the Quad Cities who were knocked off the grid had their power restored by Thursday morning. Crews continue to work in 16-hour shifts and there are over 1,000 out-of-state utility and contract linemen and tree crews who have been brought in to deal with the situation statewide.
We have posted the full announcement from Mid-American on our website – it has a lot of important information that will help residents monitor progress on restoring power. And if you’re home suffered a direct tree-strike that may have dislodged a utility box or service entrance, please make sure you’ve notified Mid-American.