While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers figured a way to weasel out of paying for the reconstruction of part of the walking path in Swan Pond Park, we thank the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for agreeing to pony up to repair the path, which was ruined during April’s flood.
We’d also encourage the Riverside village board to seriously consider paying to widen the southern portion of the path, which is now just four feet wide. That portion of the path is too narrow for two people to walk side by side or for two people to pass each other without one of them stepping off the path.
It was, in our estimation, the one failing of the final plan for the park. Widening the path will address that failing and also, we hope, prevent the kind of collapse that resulted in the recent flood.
Of course, it’s a repair that hasn’t been budgeted and the money will have to come from the village’s general reserve. Riverside can afford it. It’s an expenditure that will benefit the entire village by making the path more accessible and usable.
The truth is, though, that path will always need some sort of attention from the village. It is, after all, in a flood plain and the asphalt periodically is going to be under water during high-water events. With the freeze and thaw of winter, it’s just going to be impossible for that path to last a very long time without repairs.
Riverside ought to begin building a maintenance line item into its budget for Swan Pond, one that includes not only repairs to the path but also maintenance of the landscaping.
Now that the heavy lifting has been done, Riverside must attend to the routine, boring, yet indispensable job of making sure it doesn’t fall apart.