Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1008365

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2014

Planning for the future

Public asked what Riverside should accomplish in 10 years
By Xiomara Levsen | May 29, 2013
From left Phil Richman, Tracy Wazac, Ed Raber, and Ralph Schnoebelen discuss the  issues the city of Riverside should address in its comprehensive plan.

RIVERSIDE—On Tuesday, May 28, a comprehensive goals workshop was held by the City of Riverside at Riverside City Hall.
The goal of the meeting was to get more input from area residents.
“A big part of the project is us listening to what you think are the issues,” said RDG Planning and Design representative Gary Lozano.
Lozano is the lead planner for the comprehensive plan. His colleague, Lorin Ditzler, is the project manager and was also in attendance at last night’s meeting.
Ditzler said they have already had a lot of input from a survey they have online and sent out to community members, but more was needed. Attendees at the meeting were asked to focus on two topics.
“There’s two questions we’re going to ask you to consider in the small group scenario,” Lozano said. “Talk through this and come up with answers.”
The two questions the groups were asked to focus on were: What are the top issues Riverside is facing? And what accomplishments would you like to see in Riverside in the next five to 10 years?
For the top issues in Riverside several suggestions came up. They included economic development, fixing the city’s infrastructure issues like sewer and water, having a community center built, addressing issues with downtown such as the appearance of the buildings and water/sewer issues, and having more residential development.
“My No. 1 is the community center,” said councilor Ralph Schnoebelen. “It’s going to be like the school.”
Schnoebelen said once the newer elementary school was built he started seeing new housing developments in Riverside. He said he thought that would happen again if a community center were built.
Other ideas brought up were to have less conflict in town, change the downtown streetscape, and develop buildable sites for businesses to come into town.
City administrator Rusty Rogerson said the city council was already looking into a lot of these items.
“The downtown development, that’s included in our TIF plan,” Rogerson said.
Rogerson said the city would have to deal with what is downtown first before improving the streetscape. Several buildings are rented out as residential and this poses a problem with attracting new businesses to downtown Riverside, Rogerson said.
“I’ve talked to businesses,” Rogerson said. “There’s nobody who wants to rent a commercial space and have people next door living on the ground floor going out drinking and smoking cigarettes out on their front lawn, which is the sidewalk.”
Rogerson also said the city will be working with a consultant to review the price of the land the city owns on Commercial Drive. He said he knew the zoning and the prices were restrictive there.
The next comprehensive plan committee meeting will be held June 18 at 6 p.m. at city hall. Small focus groups are being scheduled to focus on some of the topics brought up at the goals workshop and from survey results, Ditzler said.

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