Early voting begins TODAY!

Early voting begins TODAY!

Today’s the start of something new – maybe. Maybe not.

One thing’s for sure, by the time voting wraps up on the evening of November 6th and the last votes are counted (sometime around mid-November), the political landscape of our county, state and nation will have changed yet again.

For some, this is really upsetting. Change can be hard to take. Especially if you’re not ready for it.

Especially if you’re not in control of it.

But, you see, that’s the great irony to all of this. We are, in fact, in control of the amount of change our elected officials bring on our communities. We have the ultimate power.

We can vote.

Riverdale residents can count ourselves fortunate for living in Scott County, where we have a strong, bi-partisan interest in making sure elections are free, fair and accessible. Our County Auditor, Roxanna Moritz, provides a lot of essential voter information on the County’s website (click here to open it in a new browser window).

Here are some important things to keep in mind (courtesy of the Scott County Auditor’s Office):

EARLY VOTING

If you’re going to vote before November 6th (and a lot of people – including yours truly – do), keep in mind that the polls officially open October 9th (today) at the Assessor’s office in downtown Davenport and at other, satellite locations starting Wednesday, October 10th (click here for a full list).

The most convenient places for Riverdale residents to vote early are probably Scott Community College (tomorrow only from 10am to 4pm) and the Bettendorf Public Library starting Monday, October 15th and running through Saturday, November 3rd).  Not all early voting stations are open during the same times. So, voting early might mean taking off a little early from work or over an extended lunch hour, to make sure your vote gets cast.

Once you’ve figured out where to vote, you might want to make sure your voter registration is valid. Fortunately, that’s easy to do online (click here).

Have more questions about early voting? Here’s a link to the page on the County Auditor’s website that provides all the answers.

ELECTION DAY VOTING

The voting laws in Iowa have changed since the last general election. The Iowa legislature enacted a law making it mandatory that a person present an ID when voting on Election Day. So be sure to bring one of the authorized ID’s:

  • US Passport
  • US Military ID
  • Veteran’s ID
  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • Iowa Non-Operator ID Card
    (For voters without an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, you can receive a special voter registration ID which is received in the mail and must be signed BEFORE arriving at the poll.)

If you forgot your ID, you can sign an oath attesting to your identity and vote a regular ballot. But that rule is in place for THIS YEAR ONLY. After this November, you must provide an ID, have another registered voter attest to your identity or vote a “provisional” ballot will not be counted until you’ve presented a valid ID to the Auditor’s office.

So, does all this seem like a big hassle?

Maybe so. But if you want things to change, there’s only one way to take control and make sure that change happens.

Vote.

Even if it’s a hassle.

Every vote counts.

Every vote counts.

Last Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. Did you know that? Don’t feel bad, most people didn’t.

National Voter Registration Day is a day dedicated to celebrating our democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. Held on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day will take place on September 24, 2019. The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). It is further supported by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

The informational website developed on behalf of the annual celebration includes a lot of interesting voter-friendly links including one that provides detailed information about registering to vote in Iowa. Did you know it’s possible to register to vote online? Check it out.

So, why the push to drive voter registration?

Well, for starters, let me ask you a question. Are you satisfied with the way your local, state and national government is working? Of course the answer is “yes” to local (thanks for that), but in many cases, people are generally (and genuinely) fed up with politicians in Des Moines and Washington.

This isn’t anything new. In fact, citizen disgust with politicians is a time-honored tradition going back thousands of years. But that’s a blog post for another day.

Today, in 2018, if you’re not happy with how things are going in your neighborhood, state or country, there’s only one way you can affect change as a citizen.

Vote.

it’s interesting to note that voter dissatisfaction has been very high for the last two decades, but voter turnout has gone down.

Instead, it seems people are venting their frustration on social media. Posting rants, memes, pictures and links to news stories that reinforce their anger. Websites like Twitter and Facebook have given people a voice to express their frustration.

There’s just one problem. You can express your frustration with this politician or that; one political party or the other. But nothing gets politicians and their parties to change as dramatically as the threat of unemployment. And that power lies in the ballot box, not social media.

Some people will probably ask: “What’s the upside of more people registering and participating in our democracy? Isn’t it crazy enough the way it is right now?”

Interestingly enough, the more people involved in decision-making via the ballot box – the broader the cross-section of the country actually working to make their voices heard – the less likely the elected politicians are to hold extreme points of view. Large numbers tend to average out and moderate.

And that’s a key factor to your “discontent” with government that you need to recognize.

The fact is political consultants and politicians have figured out that the harder it is for people to participate in voting, the less likely they are to do it and the fewer number of votes it will take to get elected. That means politicians with extreme ideas (either on the right or the left) can assume power in a government by mobilizing a small faction of voters who will actively engage themselves in the voter registration and election process.

Keep that in mind when you spend a little time thinking about the registering and voting in this November’s election. Your voice needs to be heard – whether it’s in support of one party or another. And make sure your family, neighbors and friends register and participate so their voice can be heard, too (even if you don’t always agree with them).

The more people actively participate in our democracy, the healthier our nation will be.

Thanks.

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

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

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

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

Does Riverdale need a neighborhood watch?

Does Riverdale need a neighborhood watch?

 

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.

The state of Riverdale’s Parks

The state of Riverdale’s Parks

 

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.

Want to make Riverdale work? You’ll have to get involved.

Want to make Riverdale work? You’ll have to get involved.

Do you want to live in a vibrant community that’s family-friendly and has lower property taxes than other communities in Scott County?

That’s not the Riverdale of today. But it could be the Riverdale of tomorrow.

There’s just one missing ingredient:

You.

Here are the hard facts we have to take into consideration when we think about the city in which we live:

  • Changes in the Iowa tax code means that the big property tax bill ALCOA used to pay has grown smaller and that means the City of Riverdale gets less from its largest corporate neighbor now than it did in the 1980’s (or 60’s).
  • Regulations on everything from environmental protection to building codes to street safety now require cities like Riverdale to re-evaluate everything we’ve done for the past fifty years and make sure we’re compliant with these new 21st-Century standards.
  • A city of only 450 residents doesn’t have the economic resources of those cities that surround us like Bettendorf (30,000 residents) or Davenport (100,000+ residents).

Resources are scarce. Whether we’re talking about money (i.e. taxes), personnel or time. So, if Riverdale is going to continue to improve, we have to take a hard look at our citizens to find ways to encourage their involvement in our day-to-day, quality of life.

You and your family members can make the difference here in Riverdale – the difference between just getting along or making Riverdale someplace special.

I can promise you one thing: I’ll continue to work with our Council members and concerned citizens to address the issues we feel are most important and to insist (yes, insist) that everyday citizens get involved and contribute a little time and experience to help our city thrive.

Not sure we’re addressing any issues that are really important (or interesting) to you? That’s easy enough to fix.

Come to our next Town Hall Meeting (scheduled for Sunday, August 26th at 2pm) at City Hall and let me know what you think.

See you there.

Rules of the road – or, at least, the bike path.

Rules of the road – or, at least, the bike path.

Riverdale is a small city. But the bike path is a big deal.

And we’ve had more than a few residents express their concern and point out the safety hazards of how the MRT (Mississippi River Trail) crosses Manor Drive and, to a lesser extent, the Scott Community College Entrance on State Street.

I’ve also had a few “close calls” with bikers on the trail as they crossed my driveway – hidden by shrubs and scrub trees until the last possible moment. I’ll try to get that vegetation removed (it’s not mine), but the fact I’ve almost hit a biker or two makes the concerns raised by our citizens emphasizes the problem.

I also walk the bike path through Riverdale and Bettendorf several times a week and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later …

… nobody seems to know what they’re doing when it comes to riding or walking on the bike path.

I remember learning in elementary school (and Cub Scouts) that you were supposed to walk against traffic. That was true whether it was a city street or a private drive. By walking on the left-hand side of the street, you could see the on-coming traffic and avoid it if you had to. You also didn’t have to worry about having people come up behind you on bikes and startle you with a friendly “passing on your left” or, as I’ve more recently experienced, a not-so-friendly “hey, move over.”

The problem is, most people don’t seem to follow this rule when they walk or jog on the bike path. I suppose it’s possible they’ve never been taught the rule in the first place. But every time I walk my 5.4 mile route, I play a slow motion game of chicken with other walkers and joggers two or three times an outing.

Sometimes I get a friendly smile and nod, but usually people look put out that I’m on their side of the bike path.

It’s a little ridiculous.

Why is this a subject worth debating? I don’t think you have to look any further than the incident on the MRT in Davenport last June, when 76 year-old Ruth Morris was ridden down and killed by a bicyclist from behind.

So, what can we do about it?

I’d say the first line of defense (or offense, depending on your perspective, I suppose) is to re-evaluate the signage we have along the MRT. We have other issues with regard to directional signage, too, and I think all those can be addressed with some deliberation and creativity.

We can then take our ideas and put them into action with new signage along the MRT and other bike paths and by taking our work to Bettendorf to see if they would be interested in doing something along the same lines. Let’s face it, by working together, Bettendorf and Riverdale can make the entire community safer and more “citizen-friendly” whether you’re on a bike, walking or jogging along the trails.

But I suspect I’m only touching on a few of the possibilities. Let me know what YOU think we could do to make the bike trails safer for everyone who uses them by commenting below.

 

Does the mayor have a political agenda? You bet.

Does the mayor have a political agenda? You bet.

People love to speculate about other people’s motives for doing what they do. It’s natural. It’s human nature.

And it can be a colossal waste of time and energy.

Politicians are particularly susceptible to such speculation: Who’s ox will get gored next? Who’s pocket is he/she in?

And while I’m all for understanding the context and details of a subject – and try to keep an open mind as new facts pop up during the process of deliberation and decision-making – I’m horrible at “reading between the lines” to understand what motivates a person to say one thing and do another.

To complicate matters, I often forget there are people who are exactly the opposite of me. When I work with them, they’re always trying to “figure me out” and try to get ahead of the ball (so to speak). I suppose if they could, they would have an advantage when it came to influencing my decisions. But there’s one problem.

I’m not a “hidden agenda” type of guy. I like to lay stuff out for people to see and then engage in lively conversation about issues and opinions in order to clarify positions and strengthen arguments. Quite frankly, I enjoy conflict – when it’s friendly and civil – because competing ideas almost always yield a synthesis that’s better and stronger than the original parts.

So, while I don’t have a “hidden agenda” I do have a political one – designed to encourage civil discourse and creative conflict. The results of these kinds of interactions can be ideas that re-shape a community, save money and position us for the future.

My Political Agenda

Simply put, my goal as an elected official is to advance an programs and opportunities that focus on three areas:

  1. Communicate Clearly
  2. Engage Fully
  3. Act Intentionally

Clear Communications – I think it’s imperative we, as the leaders of the City, provide frequent updates on all issues to our residents and businesses. That communication needs to be clear and to the point. And issues need to be identified in a way that everybody can recognize the problems as they are and contribute to a solution.

Full Engagement – I’m always looking for ways to engage our citizens more fully. We need your input, opinions and help to make Riverdale a great place to live and raise a family. Look, we don’t have the financial resources (money) to pay for anything we want – we have to rely on our neighbors for help.

Encourage those you know in the City to subscribe to our e-newsletter and read our website or participate in Facebook discussions – that’s a great first step. And then, when you see a task force or committee doing something that interests you, join in. The more people involved in making Riverdale work as a community, help build a sense of community.

Act Intentionally – I’ve been around the block long enough to know that there’s a big difference between “just doing it” and “really doing it.” If we take on a project, we need to make sure we are in agreement as to what outcomes we want to achieve. And the path we take to achieve those outcomes should be clearly understood by everyone involved.

When we can work together toward a common set of goals and with our eyes (and minds) wide open, we can get their sooner and reap greater rewards in the process.

So “that’s my deal” – that’s my political agenda. I hope you’ll be a part of Riverdale’s success and join our team.

Why “good enough” really isn’t good enough.

Why “good enough” really isn’t good enough.

Time flies. Whether we’re having fun or not.

That’s the cruel reality to life. Nothing is permanent. And because of that, we have to focus on what matters and how to keep those “most important things” front-and-center in our lives, whether that’s on a personal scale or a larger one like a family, a club or church, or even a city.

Riverdale was founded over fifty years ago. And after a contentious birthing process that included a trip to the Iowa Supreme Court, our little city came into being in a bubble of sorts. Thanks to the property taxes collected from the ALCOA Davenport Works, residents in Riverdale enjoyed low residential property tax rates and a well-equipped, volunteer fire department.

Decades passed and people moved on. Our collective memory started to fade. And when the state’s taxes on machinery and equipment were finally phased out, Riverdale residents were shouldering a much larger financial burden that made municipal property tax rates (and property tax bills) go up.

The rates Riverdale residents pay in municipal property taxes is now very much like what the other residents of Scott County pay (2018 property tax levy rates in Scott County can be found here) – but, for some reason, many people don’t seem to recognize that fact. Or what that new revenue paradigm means for the City.

It means we can’t keep doing things the way we used to. We have to work smarter and with greater focus.

It means that time has marched on and if we want to keep up, we need to know where we’re going, how we’re going to get there and what it’s going to take to make sure everyone comes along for the adventure.

That’s why we have a new website. That’s why we’re more active on social media. That’s why I’m asking our Council Members and residents to meet more frequently and participate in more committees, task forces and participate in special events.

By doing more things together, we build a better sense of community that will help us be a better community.

It’s different than the way we’ve done things before.

And it should be.

And now, a few words about the subject no one wants to talk about … politics.

And now, a few words about the subject no one wants to talk about … politics.

Yes. Politics.

But this isn’t a political post.

I’m not going to rant one way or another about our nation or our state’s ills. Or the problems with leadership. Or the strength of one party against another.

As mayor of a small community, I want to address the necessity of politics and how some simple, political principles are necessary for a community to operate openly, honestly and fairly.

When political subjects are brought up nowadays, it seems like everyone is very quick to judge and to shut down (or shut out) points of view that don’t square with their preconceived notions of what’s “good” and what’s “bad.” Sometimes those notions are complete and well-informed. Usually, they’re not.

I come from a fairly conservative background. I’m a believer in making sure you know you can pay for something before you buy it. I also believe that we all have a duty to leave our place in the world a little better than the way we found it – that we have a stewardship responsibility to tend to our home and those around us in a way that’s compassionate, caring and considerate.

And I believe in making sure people are accountable for the things they say and do. And for the promises they make.

Unfortunately, my background doesn’t square very well with either national political party, but I believe it squares with my friends and family here in Riverdale. And that’s why I agreed to run for mayor in the first place.

My friends, we have a lot of work to do in this city to make sure it’s better off than the way we found it – whether that was last year, twenty years ago or back when it was founded. The world has changed and Riverdale has changed with it. But some of the problems we see every two weeks at City Council have been around for a long time.

That’s why I’m putting such an emphasis on communications and open dialogue between people.

The political process is fueled by debate and respect. Listening to others and considering their points of view first is an innate part of the political process. Sharing information openly and freely helps inform those engaged in debate – so I ask you all to do two things to help make Riverdale a great place to live, work and raise a family:

1. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Read and share our community’s news with your family and neighbors. Let us know what additional information you’d like to have available to review online. Make sure you’re informed.

2. Engage with us. Talk with your friends and neighbors. And those of us at City Hall, too.

By engaging in the process of informed, political debate, we can work together to create a new future that meets our expectations and lays the groundwork for great things to come.

Get political with us. We’ll all be better off as a result.

We want you to help us fight the oncoming invasion!

We want you to help us fight the oncoming invasion!

No, this isn’t a warning about pod people or Martians.

But the City of Riverdale is facing an unprecedented invasion and it’s up to all of us to deal with it.

The City is beginning the process of studying and addressing the invasive plant problem in our parks, yards and other green spaces. Species like Garlic Mustard (pictured below) are choking out native plants that provide ground cover and keep our soil from eroding off hillsides, etc.

Already this year, the City has spent over $15,000 to repair an eroded hillside. Imagine how much we might have to spend if this problem goes un-checked and we end up losing larger and larger swathes of growth of underbrush? By studying this problem now and exploring our options, we can avoid a potentially crippling infrastructure problem.

That’s why I formed the Invasive Plant Task Force and asked Council Member Kelly Krell to chair it. I urge any residents who might be interested in participating in the broader public conversation to attend the task force’s first meeting on August 3rd.

The group will study the problem, explore possible solutions and make a recommendation to City Council on what to do (if any action is required). Assuming we do SOMETHING, this group will also help coordinate the actions of the City, its residents and interested/affected businesses.

Your participation is greatly appreciated. Your voice will be heard.

Thanks.