The Riverside Recreation Department is planning to overhaul the plantings on the berm that shields Patriots Park from 26th Street in part to screen residents’ views of the new Costco development across the street.

When Costco opened last fall, residents on Parkway Road who face the Costco site complained that the bright lights from the parking lot were intrusive and that the development site itself had dramatically changed the character of the neighborhood.

“From my front window that’s all you see,” Parkway Road resident Bob Maloney told the Landmark last November. “I never thought I’d be in this situation.”

Another resident Garey Potamianos had contacted Costco to see if there was something that could be done about the view and the lighting, but a corporate official wasn’t much help.

But in the aftermath of an article about the situation in the Landmark, Riverside officials reached out to the Parkway Road residents and Costco to see if there was any way to alleviate the problem.

Village Manager Peter Scalera said that Costco officials agreed to alter the lighting schedule in the warehouse’s parking lot. While the lights directly adjacent to the building are still on in the wee hours of the morning as employees arrive for work, the parking lot lights are now doused an hour after closing time and stay off until 8 a.m.

While Costco wasn’t interested in additional plantings along 26th Street to screen the view of the site, Scalera tasked Recreation Director Ron Malchiodi to work with the village forester to come up with a solution.

“Originally Costco wasn’t a consideration,” said Malchiodi. “But now that it’s there, we’ll build up the berm a little bit then plant a more dense type of planting there.”

Last year, the Riverside Parks and Recreation Board began an effort to re-landscape Patriots Park, which had large planting beds that were difficult to maintain. Re-examining the plantings on the berm along 26th Street fit in with that effort, Malchiodi said. 

“It was a blessing and curse with the park,” said Malchiodi. “It is very beautiful and there are lots of plantings, but we don’t have the manpower to maintain a lot of those plantings.”

The park has been prone to thistle growth and Malchiodi said the new plantings will have to have proven successful in discouraging thistle growth while fitting in well with what’s already planted on the berm. The plants will also need to be salt-resistant, since it is directly adjacent to 26th Street.

Malchiodi and Village Forester Michael Collins are finalizing a planting plan and will present it to the recreation board at its meeting on Feb. 24. In March, Malchiodi will begin to gather quotes from contractors for the work, with the expectation that plantings will be completed in September or October.

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