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Two extra acres would make land gift better, and cutting weeds improves city for all

Jun 21, 2012 - Ron Warpness, Mayor, Riverton

Editor:

I am going to "kill two birds with one stone," metaphorically speaking. The two birds (issues) are the county's gift of the Major property to the city, and weed control.

This gift of land by the county to the city is a "beautiful dove" and something that we appreciate very much. It was a wonderful thing that the Major family did for our community, and the small parcel that is being offered to the city can be a great addition to our parks department, Jaycee Park specifically.

The problem as it now exists, aside from liability issues, is the fact that the offered six acres are a very rough drain ditch with much cleaning and de-weeding needing to be done. This is before we can even think about putting in a walking path. By one estimate it could cost $30,000 in staff time to take out the dead trees and clean it up.

The other problem is that one section of this land is very narrow, and we question if we can put a decent walking path in there, especially when it is full of water.

We are asking for an additional two acres of land to widen out this narrow strip and make it something that we can use that will be worth the time and expense to our parks department and the city. If we cannot get some type of assurance that this additional piece of land will be included in the future, then we are not sure that it would be in the best interest of the city to accept this gift even though it is well-intentioned and much appreciated.

I have talked to Mr. Major, and he did not seem to have a problem with this request and understood our need. We are even willing to consider purchasing these two additional acres if that will help resolve this issue.

The second "bird" to kill is a real turkey, weed enforcement. First of all let me say that we have a beautiful community that we all can be proud of. Our city staff does an outstanding job in all areas, but the one area that seems to give us a little heartburn is weed control.

We have some folks in our community that are not satisfied with anything that is done. God himself could do the mowing, and they would complain. On the other end of the spectrum we have folks that seem happy to let land go completely to seed. It is between these two extremes that we try to create and enforce our weed ordinances.

If our citizens would just "open their eyes," walk around their property and cut their weeds to a "reasonable" length, it would solve many of our problems. We argue over how tall is reasonable -- 6 inches, 8 inches or 10 inches. These arguments obstruct the issue and do not help to solve the problem.

The vast majority of our citizens just want our city and their property to look as nice as possible. For that I want to take this opportunity to thank them very much. For the minority of folks that do not seem to have any pride of ownership for their property, I can only say that a small amount of debris can spoil the appearance of our city for all of us.

In my opinion these few land owners have an obligation and responsibility to take care of their land and be good neighbors. It is the city's obligation and responsibility to see that they do so. It is not the city's responsibility to do it for them at their neighbor's expense. We have more important things to do.

If a citizen is unable to take care of their property due to age or infirmity please call the city and we will do what we can to find help to take care of the problem as we recognize that sometimes in life time catches up with us and we just can't get the job done.

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Riverton City Council