In lieu of a discussion on the Henninger redevelopment, the Riverside Village Board on March 21 dealt with several small but interesting issues. First up was whether to ban parking on Robinson Court from April 1 to Nov. 1 each year for safety reasons. As someone who formerly lived nearby and whose child has participated in numerous events at Harrington Park, I support the trustees’ decision.

Trustee Kevin Smith supplied the only nay vote, saying that the current situation is no worse than at other local parks and that a ban will simply move the problem to Lawton, Gage and Olmsted Roads.

However, Robinson Court curves sharply, is one of Riverside’s narrowest streets and connects directly to Harlem Avenue. Nearby streets will have to absorb five to 10 extra parked cars per event, but they are better equipped to do so.

When you’re grumbling under your breath about a longer hike from car to Little League game, just consider how much safer everyone?”children and adults alike?”is because of the parking ban.

The meeting also included a discussion of semantics. Resident James Nash stated that the village’s temporary no-parking signs used during special events are inappropriate for a free and democratic society. That strident “No parking by police order” has bothered me, too.

Nash suggested a new design reading “No parking here today,” that conveys the same information less ham-handedly. He also obtained a printing quote of $200 for 1,000 new signs and is willing to “pass the hat” to gather donations. I say consign the old ones to the recycling bin. Heck, I’ll even kick in some bucks in honor of my late father, a proud Libertarian.

Nash is correct in reminding us that power in our democracy springs from the people and that we do not?”thank goodness?”live in a police state. His claim that the current wording is “repugnant to democracy” at first sounds suspiciously flamboyant. Yet, the more I think about it, the more substantive his complaint seems.

The board instructed Village Manager Kathleen Rush to investigate and report back.

Another meeting item will be of great importance to future generations in Riverside. The board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing Rush to execute a letter of agreement with a National Park Service-approved contractor to provide a complete architectural survey of the Village of Riverside.

Even though the entire Village of Riverside was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, the original documentation was incomplete. In 2000, the NPS began discussions with the village requesting additional documentation of Riverside’s 30-year-old historic landmark application in order to complete the requirements of the famed National Register.

Total costs for this worthwhile project will be $19,000. For that, a survey form for each of the village’s 3,000 structures will be completed. The form will include such essentials as estimated construction date, architectural style, architect or builder name, condition notes and documentation of all discernible alterations, including additions and siding. Then, each structure will be designated as contributing or noncontributing to the district and photographed.

The Riverside Historical Museum maintains files on each building in the village and, over time, its volunteers have conducted limited surveys of select houses. But this survey will be comprehensive, and therein lies its value.

The NPS will eventually reimburse the village for the entire amount, but even if they weren’t, the funds would still be well-spent. As the pace of redevelopment in Riverside accelerates, documenting what we have?”and what we have lost and will be losing to developers’ bulldozers?”becomes ever-more important.

Just to name two examples, I’m certain that the demolished Tudor cottage next to my old home on Lawton and the Zook-like cottage on Scottswood torn down just last year would have been deemed to be contributing structures. In their place, we have overly large new homes that, no matter how hard they try, are by definition not historic.

In a fitting touch, Trustee Dorothy Schroeder suggested dedicating the survey to the late Dorothy Unger, perhaps the village’s most tireless advocate of public recognition of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Schroeder, who spent years relentlessly lobbying the U.S. Postal Service to issue an Olmsted stamp, would have appreciated the gesture. This is a fitting tribute.