(Riverton, Wyo.) The Riverton City Council is slated to discuss only two items at its Tuesday night work session at city hall this week. Following an executive session for potential litigation at 6 p.m., Councilors will review the city’s Master Plan, Chapter 7, dealing with Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. Following that discussion, councilors will consider the public input received at their meeting last week on the North Federal Boulevard reconstruction project, and what kind of enhancements, if any, are to be included.
During the council’s retreat in January, the topic of the city’s parks came up when beautification of the city was discussed. In addition to talking about the upcoming North Federal Boulevard rebuild, and the possible enhancements that could be made there, the mayor and councilors spent considerable time talking about how to change the perception that Riverton City Park is a safe place for families.
“Taking back City Park is a hard one because we can talk till we’re blue in the face and people say they won’t take their kids there,” said City Administrator Steven Weaver. “The problem is not as nearly bad as it is perceived.” Weaver was referencing the city’s public intoxication problem. “I don’t know how to change that,” he said.
Mary Ellen Christensen suggested that the city should activity promote the park for more group activities. “If groups start using the park and people go there, they will see its safe,” she said.
Weaver indicated it has also been suggested that the city reinvest in the park and make improvement there, to increase the attractiveness of the place.
Councilor Richard Gard suggested one solution would be to have a “Reserve Police Force,” community members or a park staff member patrol the park. “They could keep people from loitering there.”
Jonathan Faubion said the city should do all that it can to communicate to the public about the many activities that occur throughout the city, in an effort to get more people using the park facilities. “That could enhance the perception of safety in the parks and the recreation areas,” he said.
Christensen said the city’s Tree Board could help identify improvement that could be made at the parks and the city’s other green spaces.
Ultimately, the mayor and councilors agreed that a priority list should be developed for park improvements, develop a plan to increase the public’s usage of the parks, develop community partnerships to improve park facilities and look at a park safety officer.
The recommendation was forwarded to city staff to determine which would be the most feasible. The reports will be brought back to the council for action, and discussion of the Master Plan tonight will be a part of that process.