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Curbside yard waste pick up to resume on May4 – say goodbye to the dumpsters!

Curbside yard waste pick up to resume on May4 – say goodbye to the dumpsters!

Republic Services has notified the City that they intend to resume curbside, yard waste pick-up on May 4. To get ready, Republic has been instructed to remove the dumpsters in Volunteer Park and at the end of Kensington Street on Tuesday, April 28th.

The yard waste dumpster at Volunteer Park is very full. If it’s possible for you to wait until May 4 to have your yard waste picked up, please do so.

The next, big, bulky waste clean-up day for Riverdale will be this fall (probably in October). Please check the website and e-newsletters for udpates.

Appliance recycling pick-ups scheduled for May 1. Make sure you’re on the list by Tuesday.

Appliance recycling pick-ups scheduled for May 1. Make sure you’re on the list by Tuesday.

As part of the City’s effort to help residents get rid of their bulky waste this month, residents were asked to notify City Hall if they had an appliance they would like to have hauled away on May 1. The deadline for getting on the “pick up list” is Tuesday, April 28.

The program – the first time it’s been offered by the City – was announced on April 1st after Republic Services notified the City they had to suspend their curbside yard waste pick-up service indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak and that they would be unable to participate in the planned Citywide Clean-Up Day on April 18.

While the bulky waste dumpsters delivered to Volunteer Park and Kensington Street were able to accommodate most bulky waste,  residents are asked to not use them to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste) or appliances (white goods). E-waste collection is still suspended until the Waste Commission of Scott County resumes accepting it. White goods disposal/recycling will be done by the City on Friday, May 1st.

Residents are asked to notify City Hall by calling during regular business hours or by using the form, below, to get on the list for a pick-up. Appliances should be to the curb the night before and, if possible, doors should be removed.  Later this week, the City will notify residents who are on the list as to when the City’s maintenance person can be expected to come by and pick up their item(s).


Appliance Pick-Up Request

Please give us your email or phone number so we can contact you with questions or to discuss alternative times for pick-up.
Please give us your preferred time. We will email you a confirmation once we have a schedule of pick-ups completed (on or before April 28).

An early end to the school year may help speed up street repairs in Havens Acres neighborhood.

An early end to the school year may help speed up street repairs in Havens Acres neighborhood.

Iowa Governor Reynolds ordered the end of the school year late last week, so now the City of Riverdale is working with contractors to possibly accelerate the road project currently underway in the Havens Acres neighborhood.

The original plan called for work “in the street” to begin after the end of school on June 8. The Governor’s orders change that, allowing Brandt Construction to move into the streetwork as soon as they’re finished doing their work “behind the curb.”

According to project manager, Troy Stimpson, the contractor will keep the City and its residents informed of their project timeline so accommodations can be made:

“We will proceed with milling and asphalt paving after the other work is done behind the curb.  We’ll keep you posted on our schedule. As always, we will also monitor the virus and any potential impacts it will have on our project schedule.”

The total project comes to around $221,000 and was originally slated to be completed in late-July/early-August.

Bulky waste dumpsters to be picked up on April 28

Bulky waste dumpsters to be picked up on April 28

Bulky waste dumpsters in the parking lot of Volunteer Park (at the top of Riverdale hill) and at the end of Kensington Street will be picked up and hauled away on April 28.

Under the agreement worked out between the City of Riverdale and our waste/recycling hauler, Republic Services, the roll-off dumpsters for bulky waste and flood clean-up would be available until the end of April. The dumpster in the parking lot of Volunteer Park for yard waste will remain until Republic resumes curbside yard waste pick-up.

Drains blow out on Manor Hill creating heavy erosion.

Drains blow out on Manor Hill creating heavy erosion.

Stormwater drainage running down the west side of Manor Drive Hill is rupturing.

Following the 4-inch rainfall that hit Riverdale overnight at the end of March, it now appears the drainage system on the west side of Manor Drive hill have been blown-out by excess water pressure.

Riverdale resident (and retired engineer), Steve Townsend, spent some time investigating the decades-old drainage system running down on the west side of Manor Drive Hill to try and understand how the sudden rain seemed to cause more damage than in prior years. Evidence of water rushing over the surface was clear, but upon further investigation, there were several spots where it appears water burst through the underground pipes and pushed back up through the soil.

After inspecting the stormwater intakes on the west side of the street, Steve noted damage to the structure that may have created a blockage at the end of the line. The result of the “clog” was stormwater backing up the line until enough pressure had built up to break through the pipes.

Steve worked out a temporary fix for the ruptured spots which, hopefully, will last long enough for the City Engineer and others to review the situation and recommend a long-term fix that will stop the erosion and – hopefully – create an opportunity to grow some grass on that part of the hill.

Another rupture in the storm water line running down the west side of Manor Drive Hill.

Sinkholes appearing in backyards signals drainage issues for Riverdale residents

Sinkholes appearing in backyards signals drainage issues for Riverdale residents

Sinkholes appear to line up along a slight depression in the ground indicating an underground drainage line of some sort.

Last year, Riverdale resident, Jim Beran, asked the City Council to look into a problem he was having with storm water backflowing into his home from the drainage system installed behind his house. The resulting inspection, conducted by MSA Professional Services, estimated the problem could extend to a number of homes along Manor Drive running from 210 Manor to 266 Manor. The estimated cost of repair (preliminary, at best) was in excess of $11,000.

It was also determined, after the City hired a lawyer to look into it further, that the drainage lines behind the homes on Manor Drive were never conveyed to the City and, as a result, were not the City’s responsibility to keep repaired and operational. It was determined in the fall that the City would wait until sometime in 2020 to investigate the matter further.

The heavy downpour on March 27th changed that.

Sinkholes have now appeared in more backyards along at least one of the drainage lines and it now appears the City will need to act sooner rather than later.

The Mayor and City Council will discuss a possible plan of action at the next regular meeting of the Council on April 14th and determine what efforts should be made to fully define the extent of the problem and the location of one or more drainage lines running between the homes that back up to each other along Manor and Circle Drives.

Sinkholes appear near many of the small manhole covers providing access to the drainage line running behind homes along Manor Drive.

Kensington closed to bike traffic during road construction

Kensington closed to bike traffic during road construction

As Brandt Construction continues to work on the roadway rehabilitation project in the Havens Acres neighborhood (specifically along Kensington and Wisteria Streets), the improved weather has inadvertently created a dangerous situation. Bikers and walkers using the Mississippi River and Duck Creek Bike Trails and, as in previous years, try to take the short-cut through Havens Acres to connect between the two.

Residents there reported over a half-dozen, “near miss” accidents with bicyclists and construction vehicles on Friday, resulting in the City posting signs and putting up a snow fence blocking off Kensington Road. Some riders continued to ignore signs and climbed over the snow fence over the weekend, so the City will install more signs and a second level of snow fence to make the need to detour around the construction a little more “obvious.”

“It’s terribly disappointing that a few bicyclists would flagrantly ignore our attempts to create a safe construction environment down here,” said Mayor Mike Bawden. “We already have our hands full with relatively narrow roads (built in the 40s and 50s), increased neighborhood traffic because more residents are staying home due to COVID-19, and the possibility that school may resume in a few weeks putting more kids and school vehicles into the area at the same time.”

“There’s not much we can do about neighborhood traffic or school buses, but reducing the amount of walkers and bikers going through the area should be a relatively easy thing to accomplish,” he said.

Plans for a more permanent barrier fence between the MRT and Havens Acres neighborhood are moving forward. The fence will create a more permanent closure of Kensington Street and is just part of a larger plan to help re-direct bike and pedestrian traffic around the neighborhood. 

Changes are in store for MRT bike riders when they get to Riverdale

Changes are in store for MRT bike riders when they get to Riverdale

After years of discussions with members of the Havens Acres neighborhood and Quad City bike-riding community, the City Council of Riverdale moved ahead with a number of projects intended to address safety and privacy concerns about the Mississippi River Trail bike path and its route through Riverdale.

Residents in Havens Acres have expressed their concerns about safety – both for themselves and for bicyclists – as motorists are often surprised by a bike rider ignoring a stop sign in the neighborhood or groups of riders in packs taking up the center of the narrow road making it impassable. Similarly, bike riders have expressed their frustration with residents yelling obscenities at them and sometimes threatening them for riding on a public thoroughfare.

This situation will change during 2020 as the City prepares to undertake the following projects/initiatives:

MRT/Havens Acres Barrier Fence

Starting this spring, the City of Riverdale will be erecting a chain link fence along the MRT from Duck Creek to the corner of the Sivyer Steel warehouse lot. This fence will, effectively, cut off Kensington Street from the MRT which means bike riders who want to make the connection from the MRT to the Duck Creek Bike Trail (or vice versa) will need to ride around the Havens Acres neighborhood and use the stretch of the MRT that runs along Bellingham Road.

MRT and Duck Creek Bridge Bollards 

In addition to the fence, bollards will be installed on the MRT to keep vehicular traffic off the trail between Duck Creek and Bellingham Road.

New Bike Path Signage

Once the fence has been installed and the bollards are in place, new signage will appear along both the Duck Creek Bike Trail and the MRT advising cyclists of the required route changes. New signage will also be installed at the Duck Creek Bike Trail trailhead in VanGundy Park advising cyclists that they have reached the end of the trail and that if they want to continue on to the MRT, they would need to ride east to Bellingham Road.

Bellingham Bike Stop

Among the incentives to get more bike riders to take the MRT along Bellingham, the City of Riverdale will build a “bike stop” in the parking lot currently located on Bellingham Road. The stop will include a porta-potty, bike rack, seating, a kiosk with a map of nearby bike trails and a repair station bikers can use to tighten loose equipment, an air pump to refill tires.

A Stronger Relationship with the Quad City Bike Club

In addition to these physical changes, Riverdale will start working more closely with the bike community, most notably the Quad City Bike Club, to communicate these changes directly to bikers. We are currently exploring the possibilities of becoming a “bicycle friendly community” and doing even more to encourage this healthy activity as well as Riverdale’s unique circumstance in the Quad Cities as the ONLY community to serve as a major intersection of the major bike trails in the area.

Ride on!

Havens Acres Roadway Project gets underway this week

Havens Acres Roadway Project gets underway this week

This weekend, letters were sent to residents of Havens Acres providing the first details on the planned roadway rehabilitation project for the area. The project will deal with several of the issues resulting from the road resurfacing project done in 2017 and it will also extend the life of Wisteria and Kensington by an additional 20 years.

Starting this week, the City’s contractor, Brandt Construction, will begin doing work “behind the curb” – primarily marking and preparing driveway entrances so they can be rebuilt to match the new road height. Brandt will notify residents at least 24 hours in advance of any work that will be done to their driveway and accommodations will be made, as needed, to provide residents with access to their home.

The major work done in the streets is currently slated to begin around June 8th – after the scheduled end of school. Depending on decisions made by the Pleasant Valley School District, that date may be moved up.

The over-arching concern is to make sure residents and school vehicles are able to enter and exit the Havens Acres subdivision safely and with minimal confusion.

“If we can move the construction schedule up and get the road done sooner because kids are schooling from home, that would be preferred,” explained Mayor Mike Bawden. “Compacting the construction schedule not only reduces the congestion that always occurs around road projects, it could save us some money by allowing the contractor to be more efficient.”

The project was bid on a time and materials basis and is estimated to run around $223,000 in total. MSA Professional Services is overseeing the project on the City’s behalf.

City landscaping projects begin

City landscaping projects begin

Earlier this year, the City of Riverdale selected Quercus Land Stewardship Services, from Black Earth, WI, to plan, install and maintain the landscapes of the City’s parks and public places as part of a three-year program. Alex Wenthe, the owner of Quercus, is a Quad City native and familiar with the area. The company also has other clients in the community.

Quercus Land Stewardship Services (QLSS) is a small business located in Southwest Wisconsin
that specializes in ecological restoration and vegetation management. Their services include urban
and suburban restorations like retention basins, rain gardens, native landscaping and more.

Alex and his team were in Riverdale this week, starting the project (worth between $20 – $25,000 per year). In addition to the landscaping work they will be performing, Quercus has also been engaged to conduct the year-long, invasive species audit of City property as well as assisting the City in the preparation and implementation of a tree management plan which is intended to address the large number of damaged and standing-dead trees on City property.

We thought it might be helpful to provide some idea of how they view Riverdale’s current landscaping and how Quercus will be helping the city create attractive, sustainable landscapes in the community that all residents can enjoy.

Assessment and Recommendation

As cited in their proposal, Quercus gave the following review of Riverdale’s current situation and vision of the future:

Preliminary site assessments show that current landscaping on City property is in need of repair and maintenance. The existing pants are overgrown and the mulch groundcover has deteriorated significantly. Ornamental plants were mainly used in the initial installation, which often need continued care and maintenance to survive. Some of the current plants are also considered invasive and should be removed.

Quercus only uses plants that are native to the area. Native plants increase habitat/food sources for declining species like bees and butterflies. They also increase water infiltration, decrease erosion, require less maintenance, and survive at a higher rate. Native landscaping doesn’t mean “messy” either. Our native plantings are still formal and aesthetically pleasing.

We recommend using only plants native to Eastern Iowa going forward. There is no need to remove most of the existing plants, however when they die naturally we will replace them with natives. Also when beds need supplemental plants, only natives will be used. This will help keep costs down while transitioning to native plants over the three year contract period. Costs for this recommendation are included in the estimate.

Another recommendation is to make your own mulch. New mulch provides a “fresh” look that is hard to replicate, however mulching every year can get expensive. Rather than spending money to remove invasive and undesirable trees, then more money bring in new mulch. We will do both in one step. We will cut down the trees, chip them into mulch, and use them in the landscaping beds. We use only inert woody material and make sure no invasive seeds are included in the mulch. This technique is both budget friendly and environmentally conscious. Costs for this recommendation are included in the estimate.

The third recommendation is to improve the natural areas around the parks, especially highly visible or high use areas. A specific are to improve is the Northeast corner of Bi-centennial park. There are many old (100 yrs+) oak trees in this area that would benefit from understory clearing and possible replanting. This would improve the park’s usability, aesthetics, and ecological health. We could even add trails as desired by the city. Costs for this recommendation are not included in the estimate.

There are many other intricacies of this project that are difficult to discuss in a written proposal. All of our decisions will be based on our company philosophy to improve the places we work for all creatures, humans and otherwise. Many of our landscaping recommendations will be similar to recommendations made through the vegetation survey. By using Quercus for both the vegetation survey and landscaping contract, we believe you will save time and money and have a better  overall product. We are a professional, flexible, and responsive company that aims to increase the long-term heath and viability of your park system.

Where Will the Work Be Done?

According to the RFP issued by the City of Riverdale in December, the contractor selected to install and maintain the City’s landscaping is expected to handle weed, leaf and other debris removal, trim and maintain all bushes and ground cover, sweep and blow off walkways in City spaces and remove all debris and landscape materials. The contractor is also expected to provide playground-approved mulch for the City’s two playgrounds.

Specifically, work will be performed in the following areas:

  • City Hall
  • Parks:
    • Volunteer Square Park
    • Bicentennial Park
  • Playgrounds:
    • Bicentennial Park Playground
    • Peggy’s Park Playground
  • Trails:
    • Mississippi River Trail (Arconic Rest Stop)
    • Mississippi River Trail (Arconic Parking Lot/Bellingham Bike Station)
    • Duck Creek Bike Path Trailhead/VanGundy Park
Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Last week’s announcement by Republic Services that they would suspend collection of bulky waste and yard waste could not have occurred at a less opportune time for the City of Riverdale.

According to Municipal Services Manager for Republic, Matt Pivet, the decision was a corporate-wide mandate. “We have operations across the country and while we’re not dealing with safety issues here now, Republic is having to deal with COVID-19-related issues in other parts of the country.”

That’s not to say Republic and Riverdale weren’t able to work out a solution, however.

In coming days, Republic will be dropping off three, roll-off dumpsters in Riverdale for the collection of bulky waste and yard waste from Riverdale residents. It’s not as convenient as curb-side pick-up, but it’s better than no pick up at all.

Volunteer Square Park

Two dumpsters will be located in the parking lot at Volunteer Square Park (where Republic’s trucks will be able to access them to tow and replace). One dumpster will be there for two weeks to collect bulky waste – but no e-waste or appliances (more on that, later on in this article).

The second dumpster will be there to collect yard waste and will be changed periodically throughout the coming months until Republic is able to resume its curb-side service. Please note that the second dumpster is for organic materials, only. Not garbage.

Kensington Street – Havens Acres Area

In the Havens Acres neighborhood, Republic will be dropping off a dumpster at the end of Kensington Street, next to the path connecting the street to the MRT. That dumpster will be for bulky waste only – no e-waste or appliances, please. Residents can also put material used to fight the flood (i.e. sandbags, plastic, etc.) that has come into contact with water from the creek. Unlike the bulky waste dumpster in Volunteer Square Park that will be picked up in mid-April, the Havens Acres dumpster will be on-site for as long as needed to clean up after the floodwaters receed.

No e-Waste or HHM Pick-up

The Waste Commission of Scott County has suspended all collection of electronic waste (TVs, stereo equipment, computers, battery-powered devices) until the COVID-19 outbreak has passed. They have also suspended the collection of household hazardous materials (solvents, cleaning supplies, oil-based paints). When the Commission starts collecting these materials again, we will let you know.

How to Dispose of Appliances

The bulky waste dumpsters are not for the collection of appliances. Instead, the City will be collecting appliances from residents on Friday, May 1. If you have appliances you would like to have hauled away on May 1, please call City Hall (563-355–2511) to be put on the list for a pick-up time or use the form below to let us know.

Please give us your email or phone number so we can contact you with questions or to discuss alternative times for pick-up.
Please give us your preferred time. We will email you a confirmation once we have a schedule of pick-ups completed (on or before April 28).
Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Riverdale residents were drenched Friday night with nearly 4 inches of rain in a very short span of time, causing basements to fill with storm water, flash flooding over saturated lands and hillsides, and mounds of mud and debris at intersections along Hwy 67 throughout the City.

Here are my notes (Mike Bawden) from the 3 hours I spent checking out various spots in the City …

Fenno Road/Hwy 67

Water was standing in ditches, with trash and other debris obstructing many of the culverts that would allow water to pass under the highway and make its way toward the river. No word how businesses located south of State Street (Schebler, Arconic and others) fared or were handling the runoff. The neighborhood up and on top of Fenno Hill appeared no worse for wear although we didn’t have a chance to speak to any residents.

SCC Entrance (College Drive)

The entrance to Scott Community College was buried under nearly 8 inches of mud which seems to have come up from the storm water pipes located under the road. Mayor Mike Bawden worked with SCC Dean Matt Schmidt to get a crew from the college out with a skid loader to scoop the entrance out so cars and bicyclists using the MRT could pass.

Arconic Learning Center

There appears to have been a washout under the eastern entrance to the Arconic Learning Center, resulting in the driveway collapsing. The MRT running from the SCC entrance to Manor Drive had standing water on parts of it (and didn’t appear to be draining) but was otherwise passable.

Manor Drive/Circle Drive

Residents living on top of Riverdale Hill reported that their sump pumps were running throughout the night. Some escaped with little to no damage while others had nearly a foot of water standing in their basements when they went down to check on things in the morning. Add to these problems the recent announcement by Republic that it was suspending bulky waste pick-up for the foreseeable future, and there are issues the City will have to deal with on Monday morning.

Woods Estates

Developer Seth Woods was on his tractor first thing in the morning, scraping mud out of the Gwyneth/State Street intersection and putting it back into the development. While the seeding and matting Woods Development had done on the north side of Gwyneth held firm, the bare land left by contractors installing gas and electric lines created an opportunity for the minor mud-slide Woods and his employees had to deal with.

To his credit, Woods was on the scene before the site was inspected by the City. He also had his employees work on parts of the MRT that were covered with mud and debris so bikers could continue to use the trail rather than ride in the street.

Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic

The Brenny’s complex weathered the storm in fine fashion, although some erosion appears to have taken place under the drainage pipes leading from the new building. Mayor Mike Bawden stopped by to check on Mark Brenny and his crew who were still hard at work, doing business in spite of the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and extreme weather.

Havens Acres

Inspection of Havens Acres showed this neighborhood showed it weathered the storm as well as expected – many of the homes in the area were already dealing with a river and creek at or near flood stage. Pumps were moving water to the street and storm water system. Much of the work that will be done on the roads in the neighborhood this summer will address the catch basins and drainage areas in addition to the street surface and driveway entrances. Some work (behind the curbs) will begin in the next month (weather permitting).

Belmont Road

Taking a quick look at the state of Fox Creek (which runs from by SCC and then under Belmont Road toward the river), there was a lot of debris and the water levels ran high overnight, but we didn’t see any major damage. Flow through this area has increased significantly due to parking lots and other development by PVCSD and SCC. I did not have a chance to speak to residents up by the bend in Belmont Road to see if there were any unique problems.

Photos from my “disaster tour” of Riverdale can be found below: