Splashpad, new employees highlight Riverside’s year
By Andy Hallman
The City of Riverside went through a number of transitions in 2012. The elections in 2011 put in a new mayor, Bill Poch, and new councilor, Bob Schneider Jr. The city also saw several city employees come and go throughout the year.
The council’s meetings in the early part of the year were often three hours or longer, and included significant participation from the audience. On a few occasions in the spring, the council chambers were so full that visitors had to stand in the hallway to witness the meetings.
The issue for many of those residents in the early part of the year was the proposed splashpad. A splashpad is an aquatic play area with fountains and buckets to get people wet without submerging them in water like a pool. The council set aside money for the splashpad during its budget meeting in early 2011, but the public debate on the splashpad began in earnest that fall and continued into 2012.
The council and the city’s residents talked about the splashpad extensively at the meetings in February and March. At a meeting in early February, the council voted to hold a public hearing on the splashpad. However, Poch vetoed the resolution later that week.
At the Feb. 20 meeting, the council chambers were overflowing with residents who wanted to speak on the splashpad. Poch allowed everybody in attendnace to speak on the issue, and by the time it was all said and done the meeting was four hours long. That night, eight persons spoke in favor of the splashpad and six spoke against it.
The council was able to proceed on the splashpad in April by authorizing Hart-Fredrick Consultants to study the cost of putting the splashpad at four locations in town. Throughout the year, residents voiced their opinion about whether the splashpad had majority support in the town of Riverside.
In an effort to find out, the council created a committee to survey the town on the splashpad. The committee consisted of the existing employee committee plus four residents, two who supported the splashpad and two who opposed it. However, nothing has been done on the splashpad in the past six months, nor has it come up at council meetings in that time.
The other major item the city faced was employee turnover. Missy Carter, who was the deputy clerk under Tina Thomas in 2011, was hired as the city clerk. Carter and deputy clerk Teresa Sladek announced their resignations from the city on July 2.
For about a month, the city did not have either a city clerk or a deputy city clerk. It received help from people in town plus city clerks in other towns.
In August, the city hired Rusty Rogerson to be its administrator. The city had been without an administrator since Thomas resigned in July 2011. The city later hired Lory Young to be its city clerk.