Want to learn more about COVID-19? Join in on tonight’s Community Conversation in our Virtual Community Room.

Want to learn more about COVID-19? Join in on tonight’s Community Conversation in our Virtual Community Room.

Join Council Member Kelly Krell and local public health expert Rebecca McMeekan Heick in the City of Riverdale’s Online Community Room on Thursday, May 14 at 7 pm for a discussion on COVID-19 facts vs. fiction and local status update.
 
Dr. Heick is an epidemiologist and full-time faculty member at Augustana College, and this is sure to be an insightful and entertaining opportunity to have your questions answered and learn more about what’s going on in our community.
 

Just click here to go to our Online Community Room

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 569-793-517

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/569793517


Not able to attend our community conversation? Don’t worry, an edited video recording of the session held on May 14 can be found below. And remember, many of the tips offered by our guest are still valid and worth keeping in mind today.

Mayor proposes guidelines for opening playgrounds and public gathering places

Mayor proposes guidelines for opening playgrounds and public gathering places

Mayor Mike Bawden has prepared a draft of guidelines for re-opening the City’s playgrounds and public gathering places like the Council Chambers and Community Room at City Hall. These guidelines take into consideration public health concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak and, if passed, will go into effect on June 1, 2020.

 

Parks and Playgrounds

The guidelines allow for visitors to use the parks from sunrise to sunset, but requires individuals or family units (those people living in the same household) to maintain at least a distance of six feet between groups. Picnicking and sunbathing in the parks will be permitted (as of June 1), but only if proper social distancing protocols are followed. Masks are not required but are encouraged.

Other rules related to the parks – specifically anti-littering provisions and no open flames – remain in effect. If park visitors want to use an on-site structure (e.g. the gazebo in Volunteer Park or the shelters in Peggy’s Park or Bicentennial Park), they may do so, but there are additional guidelines that must be followed and the facilities must be reserved at City Hall prior to their use.

With specific regard to playgrounds, the mayor’s proposal includes the use of PLAYGROUND GUIDES to help supervise the activities during restricted hours (10 am to 5:30 pm). Children (and their siblings or adult supervisors) are asked to take turns using equipment so only one child is on a piece of equipment at a time. Everyone using playground equipment is required to wear a mask or cloth face covering. If they don’t have one, the mayor proposes the City provide a face covering that can be returned (for cleaning) after use.

When the playgrounds close, the PLAYGROUND GUIDES will be tasked with disinfecting and wiping down the equipment to prepare it for the next day.

The parks and playground guidelines are intended to run through August 15 but may be extended if deemed necessary by the mayor.

 

Public Gathering Spots

The mayor has also provided proposed guidelines to re-open the outdoor and indoor gathering spots in the City’s parks and at City Hall. These guidelines would go into effect on June 1, as well, and remain in effect until modified.

In general, the modified guidelines require people who want to use any of the public gathering spots to notify City staff at City Hall and obtain a permit. There is no cost for getting an occupancy permit for the gazebo or park shelters, but the City is asking residents to reserve no more than four hours at a time to allow other residents to enjoy the amenities at their leisure, as well. The permitting process also provides an opportunity for staff to review the guidelines for use with the resident and to answer any questions that may arise.

For the outdoor facilities, residents and their groups can meet at the location although the number of people allowed under the roof at one time is limited to reflect preferred social distance practices. Face coverings are highly recommended, but not required.

Outdoor gathering spots close when the parks close, at sunset, although accommodations can be made but may be subject to a fee and will be handled on a case-by-case basis (subject to mayoral or administrative approval).

As for the gathering spots at City Hall – most notably the Community Room, but also the Council Chambers – use is limited to one gathering per room per day, with strict attendance limitations. This is to allow time for staff to clean and disinfect the facilities between uses. Reservations will be posted to the calendar on the City’s website so individuals interested in reserving one room or the other will know what days are free.

We need a hand to open our playgrounds this summer …

We need a hand to open our playgrounds this summer …

“We’re in this together.”

Does that sound familiar? It should. It’s the catch-phrase that so many organizations, businesses and public officials are using as a rallying cry to the American public as we deal with the widespread, public health and economic crisis.

As a guy who creates slogans and catch-phrases for a living, I can tell you that the best of them are the ones that appeal to your common sense. They just sound true when they are said. And you are able to see yourself “Just Doing It” or “Doing Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.”

And, yes, I just called “The Golden Rule” a catch-phrase. That King James had some pretty great copywriters on his staff.

“We’re In This Together” reminds us that by working together, we (all of humanity, really, since this is a pandemic we’re talking about) can accomplish amazing things. That idea holds up on all different levels. Even when you break it down to a small city the size of Riverdale. 

Especially when we’re talking about our smallest residents.

 

Riverdale Needs Your Help

As you may have noticed, I’ve proposed to the City Council that we take some extra precautions when we try to re-open our playgrounds and community gathering spots in June. These precautions are intended to help keep the most vulnerable among us safe from the unintended spread of the coronavirus.

“Social spread” of the coronavirus is a particularly difficult problem. It’s been shown that people can infect others before they even show any symptoms of the illness. This is of particular concern with children – who may have and spread the virus and never show signs of contracting it.

As a result, schools, parks and playgrounds were closed during the public health emergency declarations and now cities and states are trying to figure out the best way to re-open them and not create a surge in COVID-19 infections as an unintended consequence. A big part of the problem, though, is that many of the “customers” of our parks and playgrounds are too young to understand or practice effective distancing measures without a little encouragement and reinforcement.

That’s why the Riverdale plan for re-opening our playgrounds includes the introduction of PLAYGROUND GUIDES. Just like public swimming pools employ lifeguards to provide instruction and ensure safety, I envision Riverdale’s PLAYGROUND GUIDES doing much the same thing in our playgrounds in Bicentennial Park and Peggy’s Park.

While it would be nice to have volunteers provide this service, I think we have to be realistic and not expect that to actually happen – at least not all the time. For that reason, I’ve asked the Council to authorize up to $10,000 in expenses this summer to cover the cost of part-time wages and provide supplies and materials to our PLAYGROUND GUIDES (whether they’re paid or volunteers) so proper oversight and instruction can occur at our playgrounds.

Please take a look at the proposed guidelines here and participate in our discussion at City Hall at Tuesday’s Council Meeting – when the Council considers authorizing both the guidelines and the supplemental budget expenditure for the guides program this summer. 

“Meals-to-Go” program expanded to include those without a job due to COVID-19.

“Meals-to-Go” program expanded to include those without a job due to COVID-19.

At its regular meeting on May 12, the Riverdale City Council passed a resolution expanding the current “Meals-to-Go” program to include individuals who have lost their job, either temporarily or permanently, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This expands the program from its initial scope which focused on seniors and low-to-moderate income households.

“We’ve had about a dozen people take advantage of the program so far,” said Mayor Mike Bawden. “The word is spreading slowly, which is fine, because it gives us time to work out any kinks in the system with the folks at The Pancake House.”

The grant will cover the cost of meals and delivery for up to 500 meals through April 24, 2021.

Meals can be ordered via the City’s website (by using the form, below) from The Duck Creek Pancake House who will prepare the meals and deliver them to Riverdale residents between 11:30 and 1:30.

Residents can also call City Hall during regular work hours (Mon – Fri, from 8am – 5pm) to place orders for the coming week.

Meals will not be prepared and served on Sundays or Holidays. 


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Riverdale’s playgrounds and community room will remain closed through May.

Riverdale’s playgrounds and community room will remain closed through May.

I’ve just posted this to the bulletin boards in Riverdale. Please take a moment to read it …

One month ago, I decided to extend the shutdown of the parks, playgrounds, and community room for the City of Riverdale through today, May 15, 2020. At that time, I said that the shutdown would be extended if, in my opinion, the health and well-being of the community could be adversely affected by the unintended spread of COVID-19 should groups of citizens gather at a public meeting spot.

I’m sorry to say that even though some cities and counties in Iowa have chosen to re-open parks and community spaces, neither the state nor Scott County have seen a decline in COVID-19 cases for 14 days in a row (in fact, cases in Scott County are rising slowly) and as a result, I’ve decided to continue keeping the City’s playgrounds and community room closed to the public.  I will re-visit this decision again at the end of the Month (May 31st) and will update the public via email, our website and public postings.

Recognizing the need for our residents to move and get out of the house, however, I am authorizing the use of city parks and trails for hiking, dog-walking and similar activities as long as residents maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between groups (hiking with your family members as a group is fine). Please do not linger in places. Keep moving and keep your distance.

In the meantime, I will be working with residents and members of the City Council to come up with guidelines that will allow the limited use of our playgrounds and community room. I hope to present these guidelines at our next City Council Meeting on May 26th.

It’s my hope these guidelines will limit the possibility of viral spread between people in our public spaces – but will allow residents to enjoy the benefits of friendship and fellowship with their neighbors.

Please continue to follow developments of this and other Riverdale-related news on our website: www.riverdaleiowa.com and through our weekly e-newsletter.

Stay safe and healthy – we’ll be seeing you soon!

Will Riverdale’s playgrounds open soon? Not yet, but there is hope!

Will Riverdale’s playgrounds open soon? Not yet, but there is hope!

So, I’ve been asked about whether or not Riverdale will be re-opening our Community Room and Parks/Playgrounds on Friday. The short answer is “no” but there’s a more in-depth explanation I’d like to share with all of you (I posted this on the Riverdale Residents page just a few minutes ago) …
 
“I’ve asked a select group of citizens known as “The Playground Users’ Group” (all kids between 5th and 10th grade) to create a set of guidelines they can live by that will explain how they’ll socially distance, what kinds of games they’ll be playing and how they’ll educate and encourage other kids at the playground to play safe.
 
If they can come up with the guidelines, I’ll review them and we’ll figure out a plan to re-open the playgrounds and parks. Right now, though, I’m going to temporarily extend our shut downs to the end of the month and start working on guidelines for limited (and safe) use of the Community Room, Gazebo and Park Shelters while my 10-15 year-old colleagues work on the playground rules.”
 
I’m quite concerned that removing the restrictions on our public places will seemingly minimize the threat posed by COVID-19 that still exists today as much (or more) than it did a month or two ago when we enacted the restrictions in the first place. By the same token, I know that it will become increasingly difficult for people to stay sheltered in place for even more weeks – especially if there’s no end in sight.
 
I believe there’s a third option and that requires a combination of discipline and ingenuity.
 
What I’ve asked our “Playground Users’ Group” to do is give me guidelines they think they can live within. This is important – especially with kids – because while many kids may never contract COVID-19 this year, they can spread it from one kid to another (at the playground) and carry the virus back into the home where it could infect an at-risk adult or senior member of the family. By giving these youngsters an opportunity to become part of the “solution” to the problem, we not only give them the possibility of playing outside again (responsibly), but we teach them that they can work with local government to make things happen that are important to them.
 
Call it a 2-fer-1 education in social and biological sciences. A teachable moment. Or, for some parents, a chance to finally get the kids out from in front of the TV.
 
I’ll let you know how things go.
Sign up now for your “meal-to-go” from The Duck Creek Pancake House

Sign up now for your “meal-to-go” from The Duck Creek Pancake House

If you’re a Riverdale resident over the age of 65 of if you live in a household earning $58,000 or less a year, you automatically qualify for a special “Meals-To-Go” program offered by the City of Riverdale and The Duck Creek Pancake House. Through a special arrangement with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the US federal government, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money has been made available to the City to pay for meals delivered to the doorstep of those most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Qualifications

To qualify as a participant in the program, you must live within the Riverdale City limits and meet one of the following criteria:

You must be 65 years of age or older; or

  • Your household income must be $58,000 or less a year.
  • This program is not open to non-residents of Riverdale.

Although we will not be verifying age or income information initially, it may be a requirement of receiving the federal money at some point in the future – so if you want to benefit from this program, please be advised that we may be asking for age or income verification at some point in the future.

How It Works

It’s very simple to take advantage of this program. All you have to do is provide your name, address and phone number. Then pick the days you want to have food delivered to your house. Meals will be prepared at the restaurant each day and then delivered to homes between 11:30 and 1:30 – so please make sure you’re home during that time.

There is a limit of 15 meals delivered each day. Orders are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If you place an order but we can’t fill it for the day you’ve selected, we’ll let you know.

This program will be in operation until the amount authorized by the City Council ($7,500) is used. Notice of the program’s end will be posted to this website and to social media.

 

Order Now!


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Riverdale receives state grant to fund local meal program during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Riverdale receives state grant to fund local meal program during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Friday afternoon, the City of Riverdale was notified by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, that it had received a state grant to pay for a meal program designed to deliver freshly-cooked meals to local seniors and low-to-moderate income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals will be prepared and delivered by the Duck Creek Pancake House to residents of Riverdale who sign up.

Details to be Worked Out on Monday

The Mayor will be meeting with the owners of the Duck Creek Pancake House to work through the details of the program, but prior to the application made by the City, both had agreed that the business would charge a flat rate of $15 per meal to include delivery charges. The meals are to be complete, nutritious lunches and delivered promptly to residences in Riverdale so the meals can be served hot.

Residents who are 65 years or older may receive the free meals and occupants in households earning $58,000 per year or less are also eligible.

The grant received from the State of Iowa will cover up to 500 meals.

A copy of the grant application letter can be viewed here. More details on the program will be published on the City’s website and communicated via social media later this week.

The Mayor expects the program to officially kick off on May 1.

Parks and Community Room remain closed for the month of April

Parks and Community Room remain closed for the month of April

Based on conversations with state and local public health officials and out of an abundance of caution related to the current COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Mike Bawden has extended the shut down of the city’s community room at City Hall and closed Riverdale’s parks to general public access for the month of April.

“I hate to say it, but it looks like things will be getting worse before they get better and we need to do what we can to encourage people to keep their distance and stay home for the next 4-8 weeks,” he said. Citing reports that people can unintentionally spread COVID-19 while being asymptomatic (not showing any signs of illness) for up to 5 days, the mayor felt it was appropriate to take these measures as part of the over-all “social distancing” policy encouraged by the CDC.

In addition to closing the parks and continuing the suspension of activities in the community room, the mayor also ordered all public meetings scheduled for April to be conducted online via the City’s GoToMeeting account. There are two regular meetings of the City Council on the schedule (April 14 and April 28) and a town hall meeting (April 26) for the month.

“We need to do what we can to encourage people to stay inside, stay safe and stay healthy,” said the mayor.

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

The City was notified by Republic Services that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were changing the nature of the services they were providing to cities (Riverdale among them) for the foreseeable future.

Specifically, Republic explained they will continue to collect waste from households and businesses, but that they would suspend bulky waste and yard waste pick-ups.

According to Matt Pivit (the Municipal Services Manager from Republic), if your waste material can not fit in your garbage cart, they will not take it. This is to assure that workers are not touching waste. Carts (for both garbage and recycling) are picked up using a robotic arm on the side of the truck collecting material.

Services are expected to resume once the COVID-19 situation is in-hand.

What Will We Do?

Believe it or not, we were working on this problem before the Friday night storm that filled many Riverdale basements with rainwater. What we initially thought would be just a yard waste problem is now something much more substantial and we’re taking this matter very seriously.

Yard Waste. We will be confirming with the Compost Facility that we can bring yard waste to the facility for the foreseeable future. I will also be discussing this with Republic to see if we can reduce the fees we pay them to cover the cost of dropping material off for composting. Assuming this can all be worked out in an agreeable manner, we will advise residents on how we can all work together to dispose of our yard waste during the spring using volunteers, city vehicles and proper social distancing.

For seniors unable to haul/move bags of yard waste, please be patient. Let us know and we’ll work on a solution. 

Bulky Waste. We will be contacting Republic on Monday to see if we can line up two roll-off dumpsters for residents who have bulky waste that they need to remove from their home immediately. This means ruined household items as a result of Friday’s storms. It’s important folks can get this material out of their houses and let their basements dry out so mold doesn’t develop.

If there’s room left in the dumpsters, then we’ll keep them around for another week so people can toss in their other bulky waste. When the dumpsters are full, we’ll have Republic haul them away and take the material to the landfill.

Community Clean-Up. So what are we going to do about our traditional “Community Clean-Up”? It’s likely we’ll still have some kind of clean-up activity later on this year – but it will probably be more focused on picking up litter and roadside waste moreso than household, bulky waste. The City will contact the Waste Commission of Scott County to see if there’s a way we can get plenty of iLiveHere garbage bags, tongs and other tools for households who want to get outside and do something to make Riverdale look even better than usual.

Let us know if you’ve got the “anti-litter” bug and we’ll help get you equipped!

Mental health services are just a phone call away.

Mental health services are just a phone call away.

With the constant crush of news about pandemic, floods, tornados, recession and more, it’s easy to see how people can feel overwhelmed. Anxiety and associated problems can lead to mental health issues that, if not handled directly and discreetly, could spin out of control.

In Scott County, we’re fortunate to be part of the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region. They operate a toll-free, crisis “hot line” which provides trained, compassionate telephone counseling, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That phone number is: 844-430-0375.

And if you’re just in need of someone to talk to, they also operate a non-crisis “warm line” which provides confidential listening for anyone between the hours of 5pm and 10pm daily. That phone number is: 844-775-9276.

What Constitutes a Crisis?

Wondering if your crisis is bad enough to warrant a call? EIMHDS provides some guidelines for you to consider. A crisis can result from any major loss – the death of a loved one, a divorce, depression or anxiety. Symptoms of a crisis include:

•  Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
•   Fighting with family and friends.
•  Thinking of hurting or harming yourself or someone else.

For more on mental health services accessible by contacting the Scott County Community Services Department:

Lori Elam
Director
Community Services
Scott County Administrative Center
600 W. 4th St.
Davenport, IA 52801-1030
phone: 563-326-8723
fax: 563-326-8730
email: commserve@scottcountyiowa.com

April egg hunt postponed due to COVID-19 concerns

April egg hunt postponed due to COVID-19 concerns

At it’s last meeting (held on March 24), the Riverdale City Council passed a resolution authorizing Council Member Kelly Krell to re-schedule the annual egg hunt, planned for April 4, to a later date. This decision did not come as a surprise.

The resolution allows Council Member Krell to cancel existing contracts for the April 4 event and re-negotiate agreements with vendors for other events currently on the Community Engagement calendar for remainder of the calendar year. Whether the egg hunt activity becomes part of another event (like the Ice Cream Social scheduled for June) or remains a stand-alone activity to be held later this year, remains to be seen.

Please keep an eye on the City’s website and social media for more updates.