Fix Our Road Citizens Committee appointed in Riverton; Council assignments made; North Federal Amenities report received

Riverton City Seal-full color  hi resBy Ernie Over, managing editor,

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Nine Riverton citizens have been appointed to serve on the city’s “Fix Our Roads” Citizen Committee to advise the mayor and city council on the use of the optional one percent tax revenues approved by voters last November. The appointments were ratified by the council Tuesday night.

Appointed from Ward 1 were Art Dikeman and Betty Malicki; from Ward 2: Frank Tanner, Garland Samuelson, Mike McDonald and Wendell Manka; from Ward 3: Gary Burnett, John Vincent and Kelly Kershisnick. Manka was named the chairman of the group.

The city council established the committee last December 4th, then sought citizen volunteers to serve on it. A total of 14 residents made application and nine of those were selected. Mayor Ron Warpness asked that the two council members from each ward rank the people in their district who had applied to assist him in the recommendations on whom to appoint.

The council also approved committee assignments for themselves for the various city and community committees that council members participate in.:

Finance: Jonathan Faubion, Eric Heiser, Todd Smith

Job Corps: Ron Warpness, Rich Gard, Eric Heiser

Airport: Mary Ellen Christensen

FCSD#25 Recreation: Eric Heiser, Lars Baker,

Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center: Lars Baker

Board of Appeals: Rich Gard

Riverton Chamber of Commerce: Rich Gard

Senior Center Endowment: Chairman of the Finance Committee

PAWS: Jonathan Faubion

Fremont County Association of Governments: Ron Warpness, Rich Gard

Solutions: Mary Ellen Christensen.

In a memorandum to the city council, City Administrator Steven Weaver said that even though the Solutions Committee is not a formal committee, city staff felt it had a lot of merit. He also noted that Gard had more assignments than the other council members. “Some of the committees are assigned based on council position such as Council President or Vice President. Rich being the Council President is assigned back up positions to the Mayor in his absence.” he wrote. “So, in reality, most of the council has two assignments.”

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 7.10.36 AMAn interim report from the Riverton North Federal Boulevard Planning Committee on amenities planning was received by the council, and presented by Jon Gunnison. North Federal will be reconstructed in several years, and planning on what the route will look like began last year. The initial report delivered Tuesday was compiled by James Gores and Associates who contracted with the city in August 2012 to guide the city’s efforts in planning amenity improvements. The study, according to the initial report, was threefold.

1. To develop a community-wide consensus on streetscape amenities outside of the scope of WYDOT’s intended construction that would enhance the visual fabric of the area;

2. To assist in planning actions to mitigate construction period disruptions to the businesses along North Federal;

3. To determine feasible sources of funding to help defray the costs of the aformentioned non-WYDOT provided project components.

The North Federal Planning Committee was assembled by the mayor and city council to represent  the business owners along the route affected by the project.

During five meetings of the committee, the members were presented with various options to enhance the aesthetics of North Federal Boulevard, including  colored concrete sidewalks, landscape installation such as trees, potted plants and benches, and decorative lighting.

The committee rejected all of the options, citing costs, except lighting, opting for traditional “cobra head” style roadway lighting . However, the committee indicated that the light poles could be equipped with LED lights on meters to allow for decorate luminaries at some point, but only if sufficient funding was found.

The committee’s recommendations are not the last word on the subject, however, as the council will hold a public hearing at its first meeting in February to take comment on what the public would like to see along the route.

“Obviously money is an issue, but if it wasn’t, what would you like, is what we’d like to hear from the public,” said City Administrator Steven Weaver. “We’ll have one shot in our lifetimes to do something on North Federal and, if we do nothing, it will just be a plain street.” He noted that North Federal is the major route leading in the city along Highway 26 from Casper and the Big Horn Basin. The report indicated that 4North Federal is the busiest street in the city, with a daily traffic count of 22,000 vehicles.

“It would not be like Main Street without the decorative lighting or trees,” Weaver said after the meeting. ” To me, it would be a shame not to try to have those. I’d much rather have trees than the decorative lights, because the trees would keep on giving for decades ahead. But in order to allow trees or landscaping along the route, the infrastructure must be put in now,” he said, referring to irrigation systems and sidewalk cutaways.