An improved traffic-flow system at Highland Elementary School and expanded accesses to English River emerged as top project priorities for Riverside through the Iowa’s Living …
An improved traffic-flow system at Highland Elementary School and expanded accesses to English River emerged as top project priorities for Riverside through the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning initiative.
The final report, following months of meetings among Riverside residents and Iowa State University planners and consultants, was presented to the Riverside City Council at its meeting May 1.
Downtown enhancement also ranked high among members on the Community Visioning Steering Committee, which included Mayor Allen Schneider and Council Person Lois Schneider.
“A real concern is the speed of the vehicles coming through our town,” said committee member Ellen Shroyer, who presented results of the report.
In addition to community members, the project included partnerships with Iowa State University’s Landscape Architecture Extension, Trees Forever, Iowa Department of Transportation, and consultants from Martin Gardner Architecture of Marion and Flenker Land Architecture Consultants of Long Grove.
While the City Council has previously discussed extensive improvements to a boat ramp in the Hall Park area near the English River, the Community Visioning group clearly targeted parking and traffic flow in and around the elementary school as its top priority. Discussions were also held with Highland Community Schools.
According to the report, the school’s parking lot has actually turned into a path for motorists traveling from Schnoebelen Street to Kleopfer Avenue in an area where there has been new housing developments. The committee suggested creating a network of new streets north and east of the school to divert the traffic flow.
“It will affect more people,” Council Person Edgar McGuire said.
An estimated cost for the work would be about $300,000.
A complex project at the English River would include demolition of the existing boat ramp, the construction of a new one, gravel paving for a parking lot and a pavilion. The cost is estimated at $1.66 million, although eliminating various options of the proposal would lower the cost.
The river is thought to be an attraction for kayakers, both living in Riverside and those who would come from other areas.
Downtown enhancement proposals run nearly $1 million, and would include new parking configurations, sidewalks and benches.
Other proposals from the committee include a number of sidewalk and street improvements, and adding pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks at the Ella Street five-way intersection. The addition of trails would add to the city’s connectivity, and was listed in the report.
“We’re ready for our next step,” Shroyer said.
That next step would be implementation of any of the proposals. Allen Schneider said the Council will discuss the proposals in detail at future work sessions.
In addition to the Community Visioning’s proposals, the city is also considering the addition of a community center that would be used for athletics, meetings and possibly a daycare facility. A bond to help finance the community center is likely to be placed on a ballot in November.
“We have a lot of community members passionate about the community center project,” Shroyer said.
Riverside was one of 10 communities selected to participate in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program. The program is sponsored by the Iowa DOT in partnership with Iowa State University and Trees Forever.
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