Riverside taking action on flooding

One year after the flooding that caused so much local damage, Riverside Residents for Flood Prevention have reason for confidence. We’ve come together to share strategies and information, and our efforts have been met with tremendous support from our village officials. Where we’ve identified needs, action has been taken.

We needed to know more about local and regional agency actions, so we partnered with the village and hosted a July meeting with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). We also saw a need to clear away debris piling up in the Des Plaines River beneath Riverside’s railroad bridge.

Just a few weeks ago, our river – one of our village’s precious resources – was clogged and polluted with logs, branches, barrels, cans, bottles and a mess of unsightly garbage. It was so bad that several of the channels beneath the railroad bridge had become almost entirely impassable by canoe or kayak. Residents were concerned that the restricted river flow could pose problems if we were to get a period of heavy rain as we did last September.

So we organized a river clean-up day, and many residents volunteered their help. Word of the planned clean-up also reached Village officials and they quickly stepped up to take the lead.

Village President Mike Gorman, Trustees Lonnie Sacchi and Jim Reynolds, and Fire Chief Kevin Mulligan pulled together resources and secured the help of MWRD, which provided the heavy duty machinery needed to get the job done.

The Village also is working to complete a clean-up of debris that has accumulated beneath the Forest Avenue bridge, which we understand should be completed sometime this month.

Today, thanks to our Village officials and MWRD, the river beneath the railroad bridge is clear. So on Sept. 12 – just a couple of days before the anniversary of last year’s flood – instead of wearing waders and spending the day hauling debris, our group gathered to celebrate the success of our community effort.

To see for yourself the dramatic difference made by the clean-up, visit our blog at www.riversidefloodprevention.org.

Riverside Residents for Flood Prevention

Tone down the conflict, control yourselves

With regard to Kevin Smith’s letter to the Landmark, “Outsiders and the parking problem” (Aug. 26) and Frank Vlazny’s follow-up “Boardwalk a good idea on Burlington” (Sept. 16), I must say I am embarrassed of our community at present.

These two letters are symbolic the lack of intelligent, constructive and civil exchange that has been so pervasive in conversations among residents and between residents and the village board.

In the case of Mr. Smith, his letter smacked of race and class baiting and heaped upon one member of the village board underhanded, racist and classist motives and conclusions which are baseless and alarming.

Why can’t we as members of this village agree that there may be many solutions to a (perhaps perceived) parking problem and give appropriate time and consideration to vetting the most solutions possible?

The start of that process required some fact-finding and I, for one, am happy that our village board (regardless of who headed it) took it upon themselves to apply some actual research to the process.

What was revealed was enlightening and could be used not just for this purpose but for purposes such as informing new resident- and business owner-generated ideas for the central business district such as the boardwalk proposed by Scott Zimmer.

I just want to go on record and say thank you to the board for the parking study and great job. And, to Mr. Smith, I appeal to you as a former member of the village board to remove the repeatedly accusatory and purposefully provocative undertones from your letters to the editor. I’m not saying don’t voice your opinion, but don’t promote hostile divisiveness.

In the case of Mr. Vlazny, your letter does nothing to engender support of your point of view and only serves to stoke the obvious tension between Kevin Smith and members of the current board. Again, I appeal to you as a much-needed vocal and active member of our community to be constructive not divisive.

Letters aside, I also want to comment on conduct at village board meetings, and this is respectfully directed at the village board as a whole and at residents and others who so diligently attend meeting after meeting.

I will remind you that these meetings are televised, and a lot more people are watching from home than you may think. I am one of those. There have been too many times that we from home see eye-rolls or hear interruptions, accusations, bickering and hostility between board members and among audience members.

I don’t know what else to say other than get a grip on yourselves and stop it. Every eye-roll or the like is poisonous and distasteful, and creates an uninviting climate in meetings at which we need more constructive activism and opinion.

Lastly, I realize that it’s easy to get carried away with emotion when discussing issues related to our great village, but, as a matter of discipline – and this is directed at the members of our Board and employees and residents of our village – it might be a good idea to start our phrases off with, “I agree and this is why,” or “I disagree and this is why.”

I don’t mean this literally, but you get where I’m going … the public name calling and innuendo really needs to end. It distracts audiences from hearing what might otherwise be sound opinions and ideas.

Sally Faust