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
Scott Community College master planning open house set for March 4

Scott Community College master planning open house set for March 4

Promotional Flyer for the SCC “Reimagine Your Back Yard” Open House on March 4th

Scott Community College has invited Riverdale residents to participate in an open house on March 4th to help them “re-imagine” their campus. Here are the details …

Who: Community members, college students, high school coaches, grounds crew staff, athletes, college professors and staff, partner organizations, potential funders, etc.

What: Hour-long, topic-based focus groups discussions

When: Tuesday, March 3
2:30 PM (Education/Recreation) *TBD
4:00 PM Infrastructure 

Where: Room 2406 (Belmont Campus) 

Why: Develop a Scott Community College Campus Master Plan

Mission: Join recreation, education and infrastructure into a 15-year plan that focuses on sustainability and resiliency to honor our community and ecological history

Interested?

Great

Please send your name and contact information to the City for us to forward on to the school. SCC may reach out to participants directly to ensure thoughtful participation in our first workshop on campus.

Parks planning process kicks off with appeal to residents for participation

Parks planning process kicks off with appeal to residents for participation

Do you want to see improvements to Riverdale’s parks and trails? Do you have some great thoughts and ideas?

You are in luck because the City is at the very beginning stage of developing a Parks and Trail System Needs Assessment for Riverdale and we need your help!  We are looking for your input to help create a great guidebook for improving our community’s parks and trails.

This spring, the City will be releasing a Park System Survey and holding a Community Workshop focused on recreation and we need your input for both activities!

The creation of our Parks and Trail System Needs Assessment will be guided by a Steering Committee. If you’re passionate about improving Riverdale’s parks and trails, we need you to join the committee. 

The time commitment is not huge and you will not be required to write the plan.  The City has teamed with MSA Professional Services to assist in the creation of the plan; we just need a committee to help guide the plan’s development.  We anticipate the committee will meet 3 times for about an hour each over the next several months and much of the document review can be done at your convenience.  

Serving on this committee will an efficient use of your time to help improve your community! Please contact Council Member Anthony Heddlesten at anthonyheddlesten@outlook.com if you are passionate about Riverdale’s park and would like to serve on the committee.

Please look for more information on the survey and workshop in the coming months!

City Landscaping RFP (2020-2023)

City Landscaping RFP (2020-2023)

The Riverdale City Council authorized staff to proceed with requesting proposals for landscaping services on City-owned grounds and green spaces. Proposals will be for a three-year period (2020 through 23) and will provide a number of service levels for consideration.

A copy of the RFP (Request for Proposal), which was developed by Council Member Kelly Krell and reviewed by members of the Council prior to its acceptance, can be found by clicking here. A package of PowerPoint slides showing photos and notes for each of the areas requiring landscaping services can be reviewed by clicking here.

Each proposal submitted by a prospective contractor will be divided into four tiers, with each tier reflecting the services required in a specific area/areas of the City of Riverdale. Services required in the future Woods Estates of Riverdale subdivision were not included in the RFP.

The City has requested that all bids cover a three-year timespan and break out costs on a year-by-year basis for budgeting purposes.

Project Details:

Scope of Work:

The City is seeking the services of a landscape maintenance company to recover and maintain landscaping on all City-maintained properties for an initial period of three seasons. It is expected that the landscaping will be addressed by the selected vendor at least once every two weeks for the time period from spring to fall each year, or approximately April through September, dependent upon the weather and weather forecasts.

Budget:

TBD

Project Bid Date:

Bids due by January 30, 2020
Council awards bid on February 25, 2020

Project Start Date:

Spring 2020

Project Completion Date:

Fall 2023

 

 

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Tree removal, clean-up and on-going care scheduled for parks

Tree removal, clean-up and on-going care scheduled for parks

At its final meeting of the year, the Riverdale City Council voted to approve a significant amount of tree-removal, trimming and treatment in both Bicentennial Park and Peggy’s Park for the coming year. The combined cost of the services to be provided by Davey Tree Expert Company is $9,450.

The services to be provided include:

Peggy’s Park:
    • Removal of the Walnut tree on the east side of the property near the street.
    • Removal of the large, Green Ash tree on the east side of the property near the street.
    • Removal of the declining Silver Maple just west of the yellow, plastic jungle gym.
    • Removal of the Silver Maple tree just west of the metal playground equipment.
    • Grind out remaining stumps from tree removal.
    • Haul away excess wood and grindings.
    • Prune trees in park – raise/elevate limbs to promote upward growth and improve canopies.
    • Remove leaning Boxelder Maple near existing Spruce trees.
    • Crown clean remaining trees.

 

Bicentennial Park:
    • Prune large red oak on east property line.
    • Remove Tuliptree and Maple in the middle of the playground area.
    • Remove the Cherry tree on the west property line.
    • Remove the Black Cherry on the west property line.
    • Grind out remaining stumps from tree removal.

A copy of the resolution with a detailed breakdown of the services to be provided can be found here.

Questions raised about fill dirt in Bicentennial Park

Questions raised about fill dirt in Bicentennial Park

Questions and photos were posted to the Riverdale Residents’ Facebook page yesterday (10/30/19) about a half dozen truckloads of dirt and rubble dumped at the back of Bicentennial Park. Residents were asking why the material was dumped there and what the City’s plans were.

After looking into it, this is what I’ve been able to uncover …

Last Thursday (10/24), the City’s maintenance person, George Miller, shared information about a request he received from the contractor doing work for Iowa-American Water. The contractor was asking if the City had need for free fill that they could provide instead of hauling it away. The fill came from the excavation work the contractor was doing for the water main installation along the MRT.

The email, sent to City Administrator Tim Long and City Engineer Chris Cooper read:

Dumping a few dump truck loads (6-10) of spoil from the water main installation on to the back side of Bicentennial Park is ok and does not need any permits due to the fact that it is  disturbing less than a acre of ground. The area where it would be dumped is at the edge of the draw just before the old radio tower. Both of the areas are marked in yellow.

You can click on the map to the right and see a full-sized version of the image.

George then went on to send a fuller explanation to City Council Members Anthony Heddlesten and Kelly Krell later on that day. That email reads as follows:

Kelly and Anthony
I spoke with Tim and Chris about letting the contractor dump some of the spoil from the water main installation up at the rear of bicentennial park. The two areas I have highlighted are the spots where I would like to do some fill work. The amount to be dumped would be about 6 dump truck loads. The areas could take over ten times that amount with out any issues.
The area involved is less than 1 acre and no permits should be needed. As a precaution I can put some hay bales across the bottom of the draw but with there being as much vegetation between Manor Dr and the top where they would be dumping I don’t think is should be a problem.
This would save the contractor time and mileage and would help get us a little more usable park space next summer. Nothing to write home about but some space.

I remember seeing George on Thursday as he was walking through all of this with Tim and he told me, that since Kelly’s focus was on Parks & Recreation and Anthony’s was on Public Works, Tim had asked him to keep those Council Members in the loop and ask for their input before proceeding. Judging by the reactions of both Kelly and Anthony on Facebook, they didn’t have an opportunity to respond to George – and things moved ahead, regardless.

Fill dirt and rubble dropped off in Bicentennial Park yesterday (10/30/19).

When these pictures appeared on the community’s Facebook page, residents started asking questions. Terry Stickler summed up the feelings expressed on the  page with the following:

Seems like Bicentennial Park has gone from being a nice park for residents and visitors, to becoming a dumping ground, first for brush and rubble, then for limbs and fallen trees, most felled and just left, and now 10+ big piles of dumped dirt and huge hunks of rock and looks like broken concrete, to say nothing of the ruts in the grass near the dump site. Very disappointing.

Today, I had a chance to speak with George and get some more clarification as to what happened. He explained that he’s been trying to fill in part of the swails behind the old radio tower, and to work on the sandy soil areas where the old ball diamond and volleyball court were located. His plan was to have the fill dropped off near the swail and then to use a Bobcat to push the fill into position and compact it a bit. Then, he would get some truckloads of compost from the Compost Facility in West Davenport and work it into the fill dirt and the sandy-soil parts of the park with a rototiller, preparing it for seed so Bicentennial Park would be a little larger and a little more usable as a result.

What is it that people say about the “road to hell” being paved with good intentions?

10 – 12 truckloads of fill dirt and rubble dropped off in Bicentennial Park on 10/30/19.

This situation demonstrates the need to establish a process for identifying areas of need, formulating a plan, asking for feedback from residents and those affected and then finalizing that plan (including costs) for presentation and review by the City Council. No such process currently exists. And if one does, then people don’t know about it so it’s not being followed.

But know this. We will establish these essential rules and processes and we will follow them in the future. 

And we’ll keep residents informed as to how this particular situation is being addressed – weather and conditions permitting.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below and we’ll endeavor to provide answers.

City Parks Planning Project

City Parks Planning Project

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that Project Manager Chris Janson was arranging for a first meeting with the ad hoc committee from the city. In the meantime, Chris and staff are working on accumulating background data and an existing conditions plan.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that was coordinating a project kickoff meeting with Council Anthony Heddlesten and his committee in the first part of March.

Later on in the City Council Meeting, Council Member Heddlesten elaborated on the status of this project, explaining that the committee he’s assembled now includes representatives from Scott Community College, every neighborhood currently in Riverdale and a future resident of Woods Estates of Riverdale.

Anthony said he would pull together an agenda for the first meeting and publish the meeting dates for all three meetings of the group as soon as possible. Each committee meeting is expected to take about an hour.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that it understood Council Member Anthony Heddlesten was assembling a steering committee. Once that committee is created, MSA will begin the project with a kick-off meeting.

Council Member Heddlesten posted the following information to the Riverdale Residents page on Facebook on February 5:

Right now, the parks committee (which will be set in stone this Friday) is as follows:

1) Myself – representative of council

2) Dr. Lyn Cochran, president EICC – representing SCC

3) Marie Kretz – representing Belmont neighborhood

4) Jane Gross & Marcus Welding – representing Manor Hill neighborhood

5) Allison Arthur – representing Fenno Hill neighborhood (updated new addition!)

We have a request in for a member to join us from Arconic and PVHS to represent our other major landowners and I asked Seth if anyone from our new neighborhood would like to participate as well.

Havens Acres still need a representative and I’d certainly be open to more interested parties joining the group as well!

Anthony Heddelsten, City Council

The City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, reported to the City Council that their project manager on this project, Mr. Chris Jahson, and Council Member, Anthony Heddlesten, have agreed to hold a conference call to come to an understanding on the project and how it is to start.

Among the first steps is the formation of a steering committee of citizens and concerned parties to participate in the development of a “guide book” that MSA will use to author the formal plan. A call to residents was issued via the City’s website and social media on Monday, 01/27/20.

An initial public intake session on the City’s parks was held by Council Member Kelly Krell last year. Although sparsely attended, there were some interesting ideas presented.

MSA Professional Services, the consultancy hired to assist with this project, reports that they are in the process of verifying the makeup of a team of people from the City of Riverdale to participate in a kick-off meeting. MSA will work with Council Member Kelly Krell to facilitate this.

In a meeting with MSA and City Staff, the following items were discussed:

MSA will begin and lead this project effort in 2020.

Interim City Administrator Lisa Kotter will forward to MSA minutes from the 12/16 meeting chaired by Council Member Kelly Krell concerning the future of Riverdale’s parks.

The Riverdale City Council approved Resolution 2019-42, authorizing the engagement of MSA Professional Services to assist with the development of a needs assessment study for the City’s parks and trails. The contract is valued at $12,600 and the engagement is estimated to take 4 months to complete.

Kelly Krell, City Council Member

The City’s consulting engineer, MSA Professional Services, provided a draft of a parks planning proposal for City Council consideration. The initial draft had been reviewed with Council Member Kely Krell (who has helped drive the City’s parks and recreation projects for the past 18 month or so).

The current draft is under consideration by the Council who will discuss it in more detail at their 10/22 meeting. The cost for the consulting services is $12,600.

Project Details:

Scope of Work:

The proposal from MSA consists of three parts:

PART 1: Project kickoff and analysis of existing conditions; work will include development of maps of the existing parks and recreational facilities in the City of Riverdale; development of a map of the existing park service areas and the creation of a map showing existing trail and pedestrian systems.

PART II: Community engagement; work will include both face-to-face and online engagement of members of the community to gain their input and insights into what should be done with Riverdale’s natural assets.

PART III: Needs Assessment and Plan Development.

Budget:

Consulting Services Budget = $12,600

Project Bid Date:

Completed

Project Start Date:

February, 2020

Project Completion Date:

June, 2020

 

 

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