(Riverton, WY) Policing efforts and addressing the needs of Riverton’s businesses are included in the agenda of tonight’s meeting with Riverton City staff and officials as they host a Business Owners and Community Open House from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Riverton City Hall.
The meeting will begin with an open house, meet-and-greet style format which will give the public an opportunity to discuss items, one-on-one, with city staff. The meeting will then move into a forum and Q&A-type format with Mayor Tim Hancock, City Administrator Kyle Butterfield, and Riverton Police Chief Eric Hurtado. The event is open to the public.
“This meeting has been in the works for months and it has been planned to serve two purposes,” said Mayor Hancock. “One, to introduce our community to the police chief and give our citizens a chance to meet him and talk with him. Two, to help create a stronger relationship between our city government and our business owners.”
On Thursday, June 15 at the Fremont County Fairgrounds, several Riverton business owners convened in a general meeting and discussion about the rise in crime and illicit activities occurring at and affecting local businesses. Issues discussed included shoplifting, vandalism, public intoxication, graffiti, urination and defecation on business and city property, disorderly conduct, and assaults on business owners. Concerns were also raised about the deficiency of law enforcement, ineffective response time, and lack of consequences for offenders.
“I live in the war zone,” said Greg Tallabas of the Riverton Community Watch program, who spoke at the June 15 meeting. “There has been shooting, stabbings, and everything you can think of. I’ve been putting footwork into the neighborhoods, passing out signs, and covering graffiti. But it’s all ineffective until the public starts wanting to do something about it. Networking is the key…and it’s more than the alcoholism…it’s this outbreak of fentanyl and the use of methamphetamines that came into our community. Riverton is beautiful, but it’s a dangerous place to live at this point right now.”
“We know that a lot of you have something to say and are upset,” said Karen Johnson, owner of Twice But Nice Thrift and one of the organizers of the July 15 meeting.
“The City knows there’s a problem,” Johnson said at the meeting. “I personally don’t plan on giving up until I see results. You’ve got to have thick skin; you’ve got to ask the tough questions, and you’ve got to face them head-on. You’re going to get the answers; you’re going to get the people who oppose you. I’m completely aware of it and down for the challenge, and I’m not going to stop until it’s resolved because Riverton is a beautiful city and it’s certainly not the same Riverton I grew up in.”