Park revitalization effort renewed; committee expected to be formed

Sep 11, 2013 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

A movement to revitalize Riverton's City Park is showing progress after a period of inactivity over the summer.

The group Revitalize Riverton, formed at the beginning of the year, has been brainstorming ideas for park improvements. Members had their first meeting in April with attendance from Riverton residents, business owners, property owners and members of the Central Wyoming Skateboarding Association.

At the regular Riverton City Council meeting Sept. 3, interested community members Craig Blumenshine and Lee Crook approached the council to request the city leaders "strongly consider expanding that effort" through a formal committee, with a process much like that followed by the Fix Our Roads Citizens Committee.

"Parks are an important, vital part of our community," Blumenshine said. "There needs to be a conscious, unified effort."

For the Fix Our Roads panel, the city advertised for interested residents willing to commit to the project, offer recommendations to the city council, and help in the planning process.

The council voted to do the same for the Revitalize Riverton committee so committee members could research, plan, raise funds, coordinate work and oversee construction plans.

Blumenshine also suggested a parks and trails master plan be created, which could show the status of current parks, future ideas for them, and the steps needed to accomplish those changes.

The master plan would provide a vision and be driven by community members determined to revamp the park.

"We need dedicated citizens who have been here for a while," council member Richard Gard said. "The council is 100 percent behind you, but the problem once again is funding."

A master plan, Blumenshine added, also calls for proper upkeep of facilities.

"We do a great job at building things but a horrible job at maintaining them," Blumenshine said.

With members of the Central Wyoming Skateboarding Association backing him up in the audience, Blumenshine came forward with another suggestion -- that the city revisit the way recreation is funded in Riverton and work with citizens to improve it.

The council agreed to add that topic for a future work session to explore other possibilities and become aware of numbers related to recreation funding.

He said a collaboration between the school district's recreation board, city council, R Recreation and Central Wyoming College also would benefit the project because they too have public recreational facilities and can offer solutions.

Crook thanked Blumenshine and described him as being "uniquely qualified to help" move the group forward, despite it having a "slow start."

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