by Dave Kinnamon
Riverside aldermen were presented with a flowery—literally—proposal for street-side landscaping project in their city at a meeting last week.
The presentation was made by Brick Owens, principal landscape architect for the firm Nearing, Staats, Prelogar & Jones, AIA-Chartered, of Prairie Village, Kansas.
“Everything in Briarcliff, I think, could be described as ‘simple elegance’,” Brett Miles, Riverside economic developer, said by way of introducing Brick Owens.
“The City of Riverside is coming alive again,” Miles said.
Owens began his flourish by noting that he and his family live in Briarcliff West, where they moved from Brookside, in the south of the Plaza area of Kansas City, Mo.
Owens’ proposed landscaping plan calls for stone “Riverside” entrance signs, lush vegetation, trees and decorative, inviting landscape architecture.
Evergreen appears to be the dominant motif in Owens’s proposal.
“The point is to create something seamless. We have a blank slate. We can design something new—something that will really make an impact on the Riverside theme. Our proposal is to move forward with blinders on—there are no limits,” Owens said.
“I love living and working up here because of the connectedness. The strength of Riverside is its heritage,” Owens said.
Owens handed the aldermen, and also the members of the audience, 11-by-17-inch color artistic renderings of his base landscaping plan.
Summarizing, Owens’ landscaping plan includes a bundle of goods located near the Gateway Fountain: a story of Riverside plaque, benches along the trail, a waterfall sign wall, evergreen foreground plantings, an evergreen backdrop to the Gateway Fountain, “sweeps of flowering trees” encircling the fountain, evergreen trees, trail meanders, berms, flowering shrubs and several other fertile ideas plus a similarly-themed site plan for Gateway Park, with its own flowery bundle of goods.
“We can build something and if it doesn’t look nice in five years, then we’ve failed,” Owens said.
“The fact that Briarcliff Hills is going to happen, we can do both sides of the street at the same time. The opportunity to marry the two projects is unique,” Owens said.
“It’s Riverside specific. It’s your vision. We expect about six to eight weeks of effort,” Owens said.
The areas of the proposed landscape architecture include East Gate and Red-X, Riverway Blvd., Skyline (I-29), and Vivion Rd. from the QT Store to Riverside City Hall.
Referring to just the Skyline area to be landscaped, Owens said, “I think there’s opportunity to show off a little bit and play on the interstate a bit. Interstate 29 is a wonderful north-south entry into the city.”
The purposes for Owens’ landscape architecture plan for Riverside include, according to Brent Miles:
•To create a quality entrance into Riverside and corridors with coordinated themes.
•A design to reflect the history of Riverside.
•To coordinate with West Platte and Skyline developments.
·•Signage to keep citizens informed at key intersections.
“This has significant long-term impact, and we need to do it right,” Miles said.
Miles also emphasized that the West Platte detention pond needs immediate attention from the Riverside aldermen.
“We are looking at a whole new way of handling that landscaping, Miles said. It’s something that needs to be upgraded immediately,” Miles said.
The aldermen took no votes Tuesday on Owens’ landscape architecture plan.
Miles and Owens intend to come to the aldermen with a proposal “in the next couple of weeks,” Miles said.
At Skyline, developers are two weeks away from final grading, awaiting board of aldermen approval, Miles noted.
The mayor’s reaction to Owens’ and Miles’ presentation sprouted up nothing but rosy feelings.
“This landscape plan has been a long time in coming. Sometimes when you wait, you get something better than you ever dreamed of,” said Kathy Rose, mayor.
“Tom Waite, from The Argosy (Casino), said that about the Argosy Hotel. If we had rushed through it, then we would have gotten something slightly better than a Super 8. I feel the same way about the landscaping project. I’m very happy and excited to see it come to fruition,” Rose said.
In other discussion, business, and action, the Riverside board of aldermen:
•Heard from city administrator David Blackburn that finance officer Donna Resz received the CAFR Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Accounting Association.
•Heard from mayor Kathy Rose that Rose and alderman David Hurt just recently completed training at the Civic Institute of the University of Missouri. The two began their training last November, Rose said.
•Unanimously passed an ordinance authorizing the city to enter into a contract with the Platte County Economic Development Council for economic development services. Riverside will pay the council $10,000 for the services, which will run for the current calendar year.