Riverdale Fire Department takes 1st place in Iowa Firefighters’ Convention Competition

Congrats to members of the Riverdale Fire Department who placed 1st in the state in the Water Application Drill competition at this year’s Iowa Firefighters’ Association Convention in Waverly, Iowa this past weekend!

A four-man team from Riverdale captured first place in this year’s Water Application Drill at the 2018 Iowa Firefighters’ Association Convention held in Waverly, Iowa this past weekend. The team of Randy, Bruce and Phillip Bowers along with Adrian Castillo earned enough points with the win to place the RFD in a tie for 5th place over-all among all the departments competing from throughout the state.

Riverdale’s water-fighting warriors show off their 1st place plaque (now in its new home in the Riverdale fire station).

Riverdale’s fire chief, Floyd Bruns was there to coach them along and also competed.

The event is an annual affair for the IFA. Competitors in this year’s skills contests also had to deal with approximately eight inches of rain that turned the 40-acre field into a giant mud pit. But the nearly 2,000 firefighters who attended didn’t seem to mind, with almost everyone hitching rides on tractors and ATV’s provided by area farmers to help make the event a success.

A news report from KWWL-TV will give you some idea of the conditions:

KWWL – Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Back in Riverdale, Mayor Mike Bawden said he intends to recognize the RFD’s outstanding performance at Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council. “It seems appropriate, that as we remember and thank all first responders on September 11th, we also celebrate the strong spirit and fellowship exhibited by our very own fire department,” he said. “The Riverdale Fire Department has been a well-deserved point of pride in our community and I look forward to seeing it continue to be so.”

To read the Mayoral Proclamation congratulating the RFD team on their 1st place finish, click here.

Taking Riverdale “to task” is a part of our future

Mayor Mike Bawden explains why he’s asked three Council Members to chair “task forces” to address some of the big issues facing Riverdale now and in the future.

I knew this question was coming, but, honestly, I’m not sure how my answer might be received.

It’s not in my nature to hold things back, so here goes …

Over the past few months, I’ve been asked these questions in one for more another: “Why do you keep calling all of these “task forces” together? We’ve never done that before. Are things really that bad?”

Those are good questions. And they’re all inter-related, although probably not for the reason(s) you might think. I’ll try to unpack the line of questioning in an effort to make it easier to understand what I mean …

“Why do you keep calling all of these “task forces” together?”

Okay, I’ll have to admit, calling a public meeting a “task force meeting” might be a bit hyperbolic. But doing so reinforces a sense of urgency that I find sorely lacking in local politics (not just in Riverdale, but everywhere). Plus, a “task force” is much more action-oriented than a “study group” or “public intake session.”

But it’s a dual sense of urgency and ownership around specific subjects that I’m trying to create among our residents and community leaders.

The fact is this: if people are moderately satisfied with the way their city operates and their lifestyle is not being directly impacted by city policies or procedures, they’re not likely to engage local officials – giving those officials a sense of general approval of their actions when, in reality, what those officials are actually benefitting from is more of a benign neglect.

Case in point: last year’s battle over the TIF associated with the Welch Farm development deal. We (the public) were told at a Council meeting that the City had, in fact, held a public information meeting on this controversial subject. Only three people showed up, so the assumption was made that nobody in the community was concerned or cared – implicitly giving the Mayor and City Council the green light to do the deal they eventually did – even over the objections raised later by a majority of residents.

(Sidebar) If you can’t tell by now – I’ll say it out loud: I’m not opposed to the development of the former Welch Farm. I think it was an inevitability that someone was going to buy and subdivide that property, resulting in more homes in Riverdale within walking distance of one of the state’s premier high schools. I’m just not a fan of the process used to secure the deal – a process that cut a lot of people out once they expressed an interest in getting involved.

In my opinion, the general rancor and hurt feelings that resulted from that episode will continue to affect the operation of the City of Riverdale for years to come.

The lessons I learned from the entire ordeal have, in fact, colored my approach to my term as mayor. Not in a way that puts me in opposition to Seth Woods and his team but rather in a way that has increased my sensitivity to making sure no reasonable concern or objection is ignored and marginalized.

My focus is on increasing and enhancing public engagement in the operation and growth of our City, even if that slows things down a bit and frustrates some in the process.

I’m also focused on calling out our residents when they become complacent and just want to “stay the course” because “what we have is good enough.” Let me just say this: what we have is NOT good enough and staying the course will steer us right into some rough waters that I doubt Riverdale can withstand.

As one of the leaders of our community, I feel it’s necessary for all of us to be involved in an active, continuing discussion about Riverdale’s current state of affairs and how we navigate our “ship of state” in the future.

Thus, my enthusiasm for “task forces” which are, in fact, public meetings meant to encourage public participation in understanding and researching important issues, brainstorming possible solutions and then having those solutions represented by a member of the City Council at a meeting where the Council can deliberate and take action accordingly.

“We’ve never done that before.”

Maybe not under this name or with this frequency – but Riverdale has, in fact, conducted public meetings where residents are encouraged to participate in the process. The last comprehensive plan for the City was such a process (and our review of the same will be a similar one). The public has also been invited to participate in budget work sessions, although with very few exceptions has anyone ever actively done so.

As if you can’t tell by now, that’s all going to change.

My goal is to create a community where it’s common for individual citizens to attend public meetings and participate in conversations about the largest issues we face.

Such involvement will, I think, result in more people volunteering time and effort to make little things happen all over the City that will improve the quality of life for those of us who live here without breaking the bank in the process.

Because, let’s face it, when you’re a city of just 425 residents, the bankroll just doesn’t go all that far. We need to make every penny count. And the involvement of our residents is part of a much larger solution to accomplish that.

The downside if we don’t get involved? I can see Riverdale stagnating, losing money and eventually…?

Yes. It’s THAT important.

“Are things really getting that bad?”

The short answer is “no”. But I have to put a caveat on that answer, because we’re not really sure.

Our short-term financial position looks good. Adding another 100 homes over the next few years will help. I’m continuing to work on improving the City’s relationships with Bettendorf, Davenport, Scott County, the PV School District, Scott Community College and Arconic (among others) because, frankly, that’s my nature.

But one of the frustrations I’ve had over the past eight months is that it now appears to me that the City has operated for a long time without a clear, strategic vision of the future. What I’ve found under every “rock” I’ve turned over are old ordinances, old procedures, undocumented processes, unreviewed job descriptions, a lack of vendor-supplied documentation, no written plans, etc.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of City Clerk Ron Fullerlove and City Administrator Tim Long, we are developing a much more precise understanding of the City’s financial standing, our strengths and our areas of exposure. But as that financial picture comes into view, the only thing I think we can promise is that things aren’t going to be like they’ve always been before.

Change is inevitable. And I fear that might be a problem.

“Maintaining the status quo” seems to have been the City’s plan for a number of years. Maybe because that was the easier course of action to take. Maybe because it seemed the only “sure” way to proceed because obvious questions couldn’t be easily answered.

Frankly, I’m not sure. And it’s not in my nature to let those kinds of questions languish.

So while we go through the laborious and sometimes uncomfortable process of reviewing, revising and reinitiating policies, procedures and the rest to bring Riverdale up to date, I’m also going to insist that our modernization process extend beyond the walls of City Hall to include every resident and business in our community. It’s a task we must take seriously and one we must work together to achieve.

Because, quite honestly, the future of Riverdale depends on it.

September 11, 2018 Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, August 28th at 7pm.

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place on Tuesday evening, September 11th at 7pm.  The meeting will take place in the Community Room at Riverdale City Hall.

A copy of the agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.

A copy of the information packet sent to Council Members can be found here.

A copy of the City Engineer’s report from MSA can be found here.

Meeting minutes will be posted following their approval at the following meeting of the City Council on September 25, 2018.

Concerned about the weather? Subscribe to weather alerts.

The Scott County Emergency Management Agency has now set up a system to alert residents of severe weather watches and warnings through Alert Iowa.

(from the Scott County EMA website)

Scott County is part of the State of Iowa alert system called Alert Iowa.

What is Alert Iowa?

Alert Iowa is a county/statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system which can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system.

This system will be used as an emergency notification system during all hazard and life-safety events.

If you sign up through your community website you will receive messages via landline or wireless phone, text messaging, email, fax, TDD/TYY, and social media.

The system is available, free of charge, to all citizens in Scott County and we encourage everyone to register at least one contact method.

Alert messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.

These messages will normally be specific to your community or the communities for which you register. However, if you sign up through the Scott County website and do not choose any specific community, you will receive only warnings and information specific to the County as a whole and not your specific community.

Once you have registered your information will be automatically entered into the system and you will receive any notices sent out.

Nevertheless, should you decide you no longer wish to receive messages, you can opt-out of the system by sending an e-mail or letter to Scott County EMA at 1100 E. 46th Street, Davenport, IA 52807 or scema@msn.com with your name address and phone number you registered.  The process to add or remove contact information may take 24 to 72 hours.

This system is powered by the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS) and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and in Scott County is under the control of the Scott County Emergency Management Agency.

For additional information on Alert Iowa/WENS you can contact Dave Donovan at 563-484-3050 with the Scott County EMA office.

Wendy Syverud named to Riverdale’s Planning and Zoning Commission

Riverdale resident Wendy Syverud will be put forward as the City’s newest Planning & Zoning Commission member following the Council’s acceptance of P&Z Commission Chairman Mark Griswold’s resignation on August 28th.

 

Riverdale resident Wendy Syverud will be put forward as Mayor Mike Bawden’s latest appointment to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission at the next meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Syverud has a history of actively questioning the City on the enforcement of its various sub-division ordinances and zoning regulations, specifically as it relates to the Woods Estates development.

“My interest in nominating Wendy was not in finding ways to frustrate the developer on the Woods Estates project, but rather to make sure the concerns in the community about compliance with standing ordinances, the terms of the development agreement and other issues are identified and brought forward, considered and addressed in a timely manner,” explained Bawden.

“In my book, Wendy’s involvement on the P&Z Commission will require all of us to be more deliberate in communicating where things stand on projects and what the community can expect to come next,” he continued.

“We all know a sub-division will be built on the former Welch Farm property, it’s now incumbent on those of us in leadership positions in the City to make sure it’s done right and in a way that’s mutually beneficial to both the developer and the community.”

A final decision on the leadership structure for the commission will also be announced at the City Council meeting on September 11th.

Stormwater tips for the homeowner

A handy guide for homeowners on how to plan and manage stormwater runoff is now available for free from the City’s website.

 

With the recent storms of the past few days and the expected rainfall that will be occurring throughout the week, we feel it’s necessary to provide a handy homeowner’s guide for managing stormwater runoff.

You can download your copy of the guide here. (Note: the guide will open in a separate window)

The guide is designed to help homeowners understand what stormwater is, how runoff can become a problem and what you (as a homeowner) can do about it.

The guide is not a substitute for professional design and implementation of stormwater runoff plans, but it should help you become more informed on the general concerns, solutions and practices associated with this issue.

The City will (via its website and e-newsletter) provide educational material on stormwater handling on a regular basis.

A closer look at Duck Creek after this weekend’s rain

Following a visual inspection of the stormwater intakes in Haven’s Acres, it looks like we’re ready for more rain.

 

Over lunch today, I made a stop down in the Haven’s Acres neighborhood to take a look at Duck Creek and how the neighborhood that shares a shoreline with the creek is faring following this weekend’s storms (plus a few, scattered showers today).

All in all, things seem to be draining pretty well, although I did email George (the City’s Public Works guy and all-around handyman) to see if he could make sure a couple of intakes were free and clear of debris.

The weather forecast for the week has improved since yesterday – with clearing skies in the immediate outlook (Tuesday) followed by showers through the rest of the week – but not quite as bad as earlier. Nonetheless, I thought it was probably a good idea to take some time today to see things firsthand.

I’ve included some pictures of the creek at its current height for the record:

If there are drainage issues due to heavy rains this week, please let me know on my city-supplied phone: 563-949-2056.

Stay dry, everyone!

Holiday weekend scenes around Riverdale

Some of the great sights around Riverdale this Labor Day weekend. If you have more pictures to share, send them our way!

Great photographs of live around Riverdale from this holiday weekend. Do you have some more photos to share? Post them to our Riverdale Residents Facebook Page and we’ll cross-post them to our website.

Just a few more volunteers needed for upcoming Fall Fest!

Just a few more volunteers are needed for the 2018 fall fest! Sign up today!

 

According to Council Member Kelly Krell and event chairman Mark Griswold, just a few more volunteers are needed to make sure the 2018 Fall Fest goes off without a hitch on September 15th at 1pm. If you’re willing to volunteer, please click here.

(click to enlarge)

Even though the event doesn’t kick off until 1:00 pm, the day promises to be loaded with fun and entertainment. A parade will kick things off at 1pm, followed by free food, games, bounce houses, face painting, music and more!

 

Woods Estates foliage replacement plan announced

In a formal statement received by the City, Woods Construction & Development, Inc. has committed to replacing trees removed during the early steps of building the Woods Estates subdivision.

 

In response to citizen inquiries about the plan to replace trees and foliage removed during the building process for the Woods Estates subdivision, developer Seth Woods provided this statement:

To whom it concerns the existing tree cover in Woods Estates of Riverdale was 37.8 acres.  Tree cover removed for development purposes was 11.1 acres.  The 15% allowed equals 5.7 acres.  The area overage of trees removed was 5.4 acres.  The 5.4 acres of overage consisted of 512 trees which where 3″ and greater caliper (diameter).  Per the city of Riverdale’s Subdivision Ordinance we, Woods, will be planting 1,024 trees to mitigate the amount removed.  Replacement is 2:1 ratio.  We will start this process as the streets are poured and all infrastructure is in place per phase.  Trees will be planted on the entrance hillside and on the northeast property line, to create a buffer between the homes along Circle Drive.  As homes are built we will plant the remainder in the new yards.

What this means is that the developer of the Woods Estates project, Woods Construction and Development, Inc., has committed to fulfilling the requirements set by the City to replace tree cover removed during the grading/development process.

The City will continue to work with Seth and his team of engineers, sub-contractors, realtors and legal professionals to make sure all of the City’s requirements are met and that the City will provide any support possible (with regard to timely correspondence, prompt reviews of plans, etc.) to ensure the timely and successful completion of the project in a way that is mutually beneficial to both the City and the developer.

RFD Strategic Plan moves forward with a trip to Tipton, IA

Council Member Paul DCamp along with members of the Riverdale Fire Department and City staff visited the Tipton Volunteer Fire Department to learn more about how similarly-sized departments operated as part of an on-going fact-finding effort.

 

Council Member Paul DCamp, City Administrator Tim Long, City Clerk Ron Fullerlove and George Miller, a member of the Riverdale Fire Department spent time with the leadership team of the Tipton (Iowa) Volunteer Fire Department earlier this month as part of an on-going, fact-finding effort that will inform the City’s efforts to craft a long-term strategic plan for the Riverdale Fire Department.

Council Member DCamp’s notes from the trip are quoted below:

Tipton City Visit On Tuesday, August 21st
Riverdale City Administrator Long, City Clerk Ron Fullerlove, Firefighter George Miller, and Councilman Paul DCamp visited with several members ofTipton city administration and Tipton Fire Department to discuss matters of common interest. The meeting focused on the following topics:

1) Comparison of call dispatch and the distribution of calls in versus out of district.
2) Comparison of department certifications and calls we’re equipped to handle.
3) Comparison of equipment obsolescence and replacement schedules.
4) Discussion of Riverdale’s mutual aid agreements, 28E, and possibilities of recouping costs.
5) Some discussion of utility of the 100 foot platform. There was some agreement that this equipment provides capabilities above most small cities, and would provide benefit almost exclusively to the Arconic plant, in the case of a fire event calling for its capabilities. Otherwise, the training and equipment provided is necessary to fully support residents of Riverdale.
6) Suggestions for sustainably funding Riverdale into the future:
• Make sure we cycle equipment incrementally, consistently with a regular replacement schedule.
• Work with Arconic and other major service benefactors to provide grants.
• Work with other cities in our mutual aid area to address imbalance of service vs funding.
• Possibly investigate other special arrangements with Bettendorf, or other neighboring city for maintaining and funding the Riverdale Fire Department.

What’s Next?

According to Mayor Mike Bawden, the City will continue to conduct research on how other departments operate, how charitable organizations tied to Fire Departments enhance the departments’ operations and finances, the needs of commercial and educational locations within reach of the RFD and the training standards, capabilities and resources available to the volunteers currently serving in the department.

All of the information collected will be reviewed with the leadership of the RFD and used in a collaborative planning process that will help set the long-term, future direction for the department and better define the financial and other resource needs the City will be expected to supply.

The plan is to have the plan completed by the end of the calendar year.

Labor Day weekend work schedule for Woods Estates

Expect grading work to continue on Saturday, September 1st but not over the rest of Labor Day weekend, according to developer Woods Construction.

 

According to the developer of the Woods Estates sub-division, the sub-contractor hired to do the grading for Phase I of the project will be working regular hours on Saturday, September 1st but will not be working on Sunday or Monday during Labor Day weekend.

Please plan accordingly.

Crime Prevention Task Force holds first meeting

Council Member Paul DCamp chaired the first meeting of the Crime Prevention Task Force on Friday afternoon, August 31, 2018.

 

A half dozen concerned residents showed up for the first meeting of the City of Riverdale’s Crime Prevention Task Force at 3pm on Friday, August 31st. The task force was convened in response to auto break-ins and an auto theft on August 11.

The task force’s job: to learn more about the nature of the threats facing Riverdale’s neighborhoods, discuss possible solutions, conduct research (if needed) and formulate a series of recommendations for consideration by the Riverdale City Council.

Council member DCamp spent part of the first meeting reviewing notes from a presentation made by Sheriff Tim Lane to the City Council at last Tuesday’s meeting. (Those notes can be viewed by clicking here. A summary of Sheriff Lane’s presentation can also be viewed by clicking here.)

Among the various suggestions made by the group was establishing a Neighborhood Watch Program and a city-wide messaging system that would allow certain individuals the ability to send group text messages to residents about suspicious activities and impending severe weather emergencies.

Mayor Bawden will also reach out to Davenport’s Mayor Klipsch about that city’s efforts to address criminal juvenile behavior (the Quad-City Times reported on Mayor Klipsch’s most recent public meeting on the issue) and to state legislators about what actions might be taken in Des Moines to allow local law enforcement to deal more effectively with the juveniles perpetrating most of these crimes.

Minutes of the task force meeting will be posted as soon as they become available.

Initial recommendations that will be explored in more detail will be posted as soon as they become available.

Next Task Force Meeting

The next meeting of the Crime Prevention Task Force will be set once the initial research project (determining interest in setting up a Neighborhood Watch program and implementing a city-wide, text-messaging alert system) is complete.

Sheriff Tim Lane addresses City’s crime concerns

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane attended last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting and provided an overview of the issues surrounding the recent car break-ins and theft in Riverdale which occurred earlier in the month.

Scott County Sheriff, Tim Lane, attended the Riverdale City Council Meeting on August 28, 2018 and provided an overview of the size and scope of the juvenile crime problem that reached into the City last August 11th, when several cars were broken into and one car was stolen from in front of a residence on Manor Drive. Sheriff Lane offered a sobering assessment that caught many of those present off guard – both citizens and City officials.

According to Sheriff Lane, the juvenile crime problem in Scott County is growing dramatically. So far in 2018 (through the first three and a half weeks of August), over 600 cars have been reported stolen compared to around 800 cars stolen in all of 2017 and 517 in 2016. But that wasn’t the end of the bad news.

“The problem is getting worse,” Sheriff Lane said. “These juveniles are extremely violent.”

The county’s chief law enforcement officer told the Council that he’s seen surveillance footage of these youths pulling guns and entering homes they knew (or at least thought they knew) were occupied.

So, just how do these young criminals get their weapons? “The guns are taken from the cars they steal, left there by their owners,” Sheriff Lane explained.

There are an estimated 100 kids involved in this local crime spree. And as the Sheriff explained, many of them view breaking into and stealing cars as a kind of competition – often taking pride in running the stolen vehicles into each other, into parked cars or into innocent people.

Sheriff Lane also explained that there is not a “preferred time” for these crimes to occur. Police departments and the Sheriff’s office have reports of vehicles being broken into and stolen at all hours of the day. As the young assailants get more and more bold and gain access to weapons, Sheriff Lane expressed his concern that car thefts could eventually turn into car-jackings.

“People have to be careful,” he explained, “especially as cold weather sets in … Don’t leave your car running outside to warm up. Don’t leave your car unlocked. And even when you’re filling up with gas at the pump, don’t leave your keys in the car.”

What can be done?

Council members asked the Sheriff what can be done to make Riverdale residents safer in light of the ever-increasing rate of car thefts and the possible for more violent behavior from these juveniles – ranging in age from 9 years to 18 years of age. He offered the following tips:

  1. Spread the word about what’s happening and the simple prevention steps that you can take to keep you from being an “easy target” of this kind of crime;
  2. Buy and install a home security system – even if that system is as simple as having a noisy dog, a little prevention goes a long way.
  3. Watch out for each other – a neighborhood watch program can be very effective at protecting your home as well as your neighbors’.

A complete summary of Sheriff Lane’s presentation to the Riverdale City Council (prepared by Council Member Paul DCamp) can be viewed here.

We also encourage you to participate in the City’s Crime Prevention Task Force which held its first meeting on Friday, August 31st at 3pm.

Neighborhood News: A very special birthday and opera student returns from Austria

A new feature on the Riverdale website – news about your neighbors. Ava Griswold is 97 years young and celebrated with an open house and a Riverdale resident is featured on KWQC-TV.

 

A very special congratulations to long-time resident, Ava Griswold, who turned 97 earlier this month and celebrated with an open house. Friends and family attended and wished her well (and she’s doing great)! Check out the pictures below (courtesy of proud son, Mark) …

 

Congratulations, also, to 22 year-old Madeline Bawden who has recently returned from spending 6 weeks in Graz, Austria studying opera as a part of the AIMS program (Americans In Music Studies). This is the second time she’s participated in that program – the first time studying Lieder (German Art Song).

Madeline is a recent graduate from the Boston Conservatory of Music (B.A. in Vocal Performance) and, between graduation (in May) and leaving for Austria (in June), managed to raise nearly $2,400 for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Lesson Program. Her efforts there were recently featured on KWQC-TV …

Do you have neighborhood news to share? Let us know!

August 28, 2018 Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, August 28th at 7pm. UPDATE: Copies of the agenda, Council Info packet and a project update on Woods Estates are now available.

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place on Tuesday evening, August 28th at 7pm.  The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers at Riverdale City Hall.

A copy of the agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.

A copy of the information packet sent to Council Members can be found here.

A copy of the City Engineer’s report from MSA can be found here.

A supplemental update for the Woods Estates project can be found by clicking here.

Meeting minutes will be posted following their approval at the following meeting of the City Council on September 11, 2018.

Woods Estates SWPP inspection helps keep the project moving

Chris Cooper, an engineer with MSA Consultants (the engineering firm representing the City of Riverdale) inspected Woods Estates storm water infrastructure last week. A “thumbs up” from MSA helps keep the project moving forward.

(Above: MSA’s Chris Cooper conducts an on-site inspection of the storm water handling features installed by Woods Construction.)

MSA Engineering, the civil engineers representing the City of Riverdale, inspected the site to evaluate progress on the development’s storm water handling plan (a SWPP) on August 13. Although some exceptions were noted (there are almost always exceptions), Seth Woods and his crew had addressed concerns about major erosion and uncontrolled storm run-off.

According to Woods’ civil engineers, J+M Civil Design, the site grading on the top of the hill should be finished in mid- to late-September, at which time the grading contractor will begin the work of cutting in the new street up the hill.

Photos from the inspection trip can be found below:

Does Riverdale need a neighborhood watch?

Mayor Mike Bawden provides information on the Neighborhood Watch program and what he sees as a greater need to get the entire community involved in crime prevention.

 

Does the City of Riverdale need a neighborhood watch?

I’ve been asking myself that question for the past week and a half and I still haven’t landed on a satisfactory answer.

Here’s what I do know …

It doesn’t seem too hard to start a Neighborhood Watch group. This page lays out the “five easy steps” for doing so. There’s even a handy checklist for doing so.

The concept of Neighborhood Watch has been around since the 1960’s and is considered to be one of the oldest and reliable crime prevention concepts in America. Some Neighborhood Watch groups have expanded their mission to include helping people prepare for disasters, creating emergency response teams and increasing terrorism awareness.

Simply put, Neighborhood Watch is a group of people living in the same area who work together (along with local law enforcement) to reduce crime and improve their quality of life.

Given the fact that Riverdale’s law enforcement is provided by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office and that the deputies most likely to respond to our calls are located as far away as Riverdale, I think it makes sense to improve our ability to work with them and assist where we can.

But like so many of the things a community wants to do, there also needs to be the will of its citizens to get involved.

Neighborhood Watch members have several responsibilities and only by following through on those responsibilities will things change for the better. According to the US Department of Justice: “It is the responsibility of members to stay informed about issues in their neighborhood and community.”

As Council Member Paul DCamp gets ready to chair the first meeting of our Crime Prevention Task Force, I ask everyone participating in that meeting to come prepared with ideas of how we, as your neighbors, can reduce the opportunities for crime first – before we get too far down the road with setting up a Neighborhood Watch program here.

Neighborhood Watch may be a part of the solution – but it’s not the only solution. Let’s make sure we think creatively and seriously on how everyone can be involved in a solution before we rely on a few enthusiastic individuals to help protect the rest of us.

MRT biker and walker count is underway

At the request of the City, the Bi-State Commission has installed counters on the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) to count biker and walker traffic for the next four weeks.

 

At the request of the City, the Bi-State Regional Commission has installed counters on the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) to count bike and foot traffic along the trail for a four-week period. The counters will be able to discern between the two which will and provide counts by the hour which will help to identify the kind of traffic on different parts of the trail and peak traffic periods.

This is all part of a larger effort to improve the way traffic is managed on the MRT in order to make it safer (for those on the trail) and less intrusive (for those whose homes are located near the trail).

Among the issues the City Council is currently facing with regard to MRT traffic:

1. How can the City reduce the risks faced by bikers who fail to stop at major traffic crossings, most notably at Manor Drive and at the State Street entrance to Scott Community College?

2. How can the City reduce the number of bikers who ride through the Haven’s Acres neighborhood to get from the bike path that terminates in Peggy’s Park to the MRT’s riverfront trail?

3. How much MRT traffic entering Riverdale on the riverfront trail continue on through the rest of the City, exiting near the trailer park on State Street?

4. What sort of signage improvements need to be made along the MRT to create a safer experience for walkers, joggers and bike traffic?

5. What visual barriers can be removed to improve visibility for MRT traffic as they turn corners or approach blind hillsides?

6. What other landscape issues need to be addressed to restrict MRT traffic from leaving the path and driving through people’s yards or driveways in order to “cut through” to another destination?

If there are other bike path-related issues that you think the Council needs to consider/address, please leave them in the comments section below.

The state of Riverdale’s Parks

Are you satisfied with the state of Riverdale’s parks? Mayor Mike Bawden shares his views for the future of our City’s parks and recreational programs.

 

Have you been to Riverdale’s parks lately?

Chances are you haven’t.

I grew up near Riverdale, went to the elementary school down the hill and spent hours in our parks and nearby woods. But like our neighborhoods, nothing remains as we remember them from our childhood.

Riverdale’s parks have evolved over time – and not always in the best way possible.

I took a walk through Bicentennial Park and Volunteer Park with long-time residents Pat and Don Fisher last month and they commented to me how much things had changed. And how it looks like our neighborhood parks could use a little TLC.

I’d say I have to agree.

But the good news is we have a tremendously engaged City Council and one member in particular, Kelly Krell, is focused on our parks and recreational programs in the City. She is currently leading our Invasive Plants Task Force, working with chairman Mark Griswold on our Fall Fest (scheduled for September 15) and conducting an audit of our parks equipment with the City’s insurance carrier.

At some point, I intend to ask Kelly to start working on a long-range plan for our City’s parks. I’m sure she’ll need some help.

If you’re interested, please let us know.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the photos I snapped when I was out walking with Don and Pat and let me know what improvements you’d like to see made to Riverdale’s parks.

Riverdale Fall Festival announces sponsors

Fall Fest organizers recognize corporate sponsors for the event scheduled for September 15, 2018 at 1pm.

 

2018 Fall Fest Chairman Mark Griswold and Council Member Kelly Krell have announced corporate sponsors for this year’s 2018 Riverdale Fall Fest (scheduled for Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 pm). This year’s sponsors include:

  • MSA Professional Services
  • BLPR

The City offers a sincere thanks to those companies who are supporting our community-building efforts – by supporting this upcoming event as well as other events and activities throughout the year.

Additional corporate sponsors will be announced before festivities kick off on September 15th.

Have latex paint sitting around the house? There’s a new way to get rid of it.

Have old latex paint sitting around the house and not sure what to do with it? The Waste Commission of Scott County has new, simpler instructions for residents wanted to get rid of their old, used paint.

 

It’s estimated that the average household has at least two cans of old, unused latex paint sitting around gathering dust in some corner of their home. But why?

People are often confused when it comes to disposing of paint and other building materials. In some cities (Riverdale included), general building material can’t go through the regular waste pick-up and disposal process because of protruding nails, chemicals, glues, and paints.

The Waste Commission of Scott County has recently announced a new, simplified method for disposing of unused and unwanted latex paint cans:

1. Take off the lid.

2. Let the contents dry out.

3. Put the dry contents (and bucket or pail) in your garbage for regular disposal.

A copy of the promotional flyer from the Waste Commission can be downloaded here.

Flyers that provide the same instructions as well as free paint sticks are available for pick-up at City Hall (for as long as supplies last).

Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting set for Sunday, August 26th at 2pm

The next Mayor’s town hall meeting will be Sunday, August 26th at 2pm. Among items discussed will be updates on Woods Estates, Crime Prevention Task Force, the MRT Bike Trail, Fall Fest and more.

 

The monthly Mayor’s Town Hall meeting is set for this coming Sunday (August 26th) at 2pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

The agenda for the meeting follows:

MAYOR’S TOWN HALL MEETING
Riverdale City Hall, 110 Manor Drive
Council Chambers Room

 

DATE:    Sunday August 26, 2018
TIME:    2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

WORK SESSION FOR THE MAYOR, COUNCIL, RESIDENTS OF RIVERDALE AND ANY OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES.

THE PURPOSE OF THE WORK SESSION IS TO INFORM AND TO HEAR INPUT FOR FUTURE ACITIVIES OF RIVERDALE

Agenda:

  1. Welcome and Introductions:
  2. General Discussion:
    • Crime Prevention Task Force Meeting
    • MRT/Bike Trail Issues
    • Fiber Optic Service
    • Woods Estate Update
    • Comprehensive Plan Update
    • Fall Fest
    • Invasive Plant Task Force
    • Website Enhancements
  3. Open Discussion
  4. Adjourn

The posted version of the agenda can be downloaded here.

Please come with your thoughts, comments and fresh ideas!

See you then!

Fall Fest needs volunteers!

Council Member Kelly Krell puts out a call for volunteers. As many as twenty volunteers are needed to help pull together and manage Riverdale’s Fall Fest scheduled for Saturday, September 15th.

 

Riverdale Fall Fest needs volunteer support for the September 15th event.

According to Council Member Kelly Krell, the committee may need as many as twenty volunteers to help with everything from set-up to on-site activities to tear-down and clean-up.

“Even if you can only help for part of the day because you plan on enjoying the event, that’s okay,” explained Council Member Krell. “Right now, the only volunteers we know we have on board are the ones who helped plan the event. It would be great to get some more help.”

If you’re interested in helping with Fall Fest, please let us know!