Has it really been another year already? Back on New Year’s Eve 2013, who could have predicted the arctic January and February with its two thaws that devastated Swan Pond Park in Riverside? Who, indeed, could have predicted the death of Judy Baar Topinka, who was gearing up for another run for Illinois comptroller?
We’re sure there are many things that will happen in 2015 that no one would have been able to predict, but here are a few things we’d like to see happen next year nonetheless.
Speaking of Swan Pond, we’d like to see a comprehensive fix to the terrible damage done to the landscape in early 2014. In December a work crew did some repair of the riverbank that eroded drastically when flood waters poured back into the river.
That was just the tip of the iceberg. A mat of native grasses moved during the flood needs to get removed and replanted in the right spot. The park needs regrading, particularly on the northern end to make the park safe to walk again.
And while we’re at it, this may prove a time to re-examine that walking path. Floods have collapsed the asphalt on multiple occasions since it was installed. Sections remain collapsed today.
The asphalt path, since it was laid, has been too narrow and looks out of place in such a natural setting. If there’s a different solution that might work better down there, this is the time to have a look.
After a burst of governmental cooperation last year, the first leg of a bike path was built on the west side of First Avenue between 31st Street and Ridgewood Road.
That effort, we hope, is a road map not just for completing the project in the next year or two, but for future cooperation that might benefit citizens in other ways — perhaps through shared or consolidated services.
Dollars are tight and they’re only going to get tighter. Maybe 2015 can be the year governments begin working to ease the burden on taxpayers while finding more efficient ways to maintain critical services.
During the next three or so months, it’ll be campaign season in Brookfield. And there will be a lot of talk about economic development, or the lack thereof.
As candidates jockey for position, we’re likely to hear all manner of magic bullets to solve the issue. What we’d actually like to hear is a nuanced, practical approach to economic development issues, instead of simplistic, empty promises meant to sway voters.
That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
What’s in store for the North Riverside Fire Department? We may know by the end of January. It may be privatization, though we doubt it.
What we do know is that even privatizing firefighting is not going to solve all of the village’s financial issues, and officials need to continue to face those challenges sensibly instead of merely politically.
All sacred cows need to be on the table, and all sides have to recognize the role they can play in coming up with solutions.