Development is always a hot topic in Riverside. When major building projects for the downtown business district are unveiled, the alarm bells sound, the teeth gnash and the sky-supports are erected.

One of the reasons for that alarm, we’re convinced, is that there’s no cohesive, agreed upon development plan for the downtown business district in place. But by the end of the year, the downtown will have an implementable plan to guide future development.

And on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., anyone who has ever wanted to have a hand in helping decide that future will get his chance. All residents are invited to take part in the first of two public workshops that will eventually result in the development plan for downtown Riverside.

During the workshop, residents will be asked their input on the types of architecture, businesses and uses for Riverside’s Central Business District they would like to see. Because much of the discussion will be done in small groups, every voice has a chance to be heard and all ideas will be welcome.

As a result, the consultants hired to guide this effort will come away with, hopefully, some sort of consensus about what the downtown should look like. It will also give residents an idea of just how much support there may or may not be to their own ideas. Not every idea thrown out there will be implemented, but those ideas will at least receive a hearing in a non-confrontational setting.

But the only way to make sure there is anything resembling a consensus on this vital issue is for people to show up and participate. Based on similar experiences in Brookfield over the past year, the effort will be well worth it.

Riverside has slowly begun to face the reality of development in the 21st century in the last several years. A cohesive plan for development we hope will be the final key that unlocks the potential of Riverside’s downtown.

Farewell, Mater Christi

Schools are such vibrant parts of any community that the loss of a school?”and, with it, the decades-long history and community presence?”can be a real blow. The teachers, students and families at Mater Christi have been weathering that blow since February, when they first learned their school was on the chopping block.

Since that time, they have battled to keep the school open and, failing that, have sought to send students off with happy and proud memories. We hope that the school’s closing won’t have any severe impact on the vibrancy of the parish as a whole. And we wish all in the Mater Christi community the best as they enter a new chapter in their parish’s history.