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Riverside Landscape Commission gives trustees 1st of 5 updates on master plan

RIVERSIDE – Cathy Mahoney, of the Riverside Landscape Commission, gave trustees part one of a five-part presentation on the commission's proposed master plan for tackling landscaping issues in the village at the board's meeting Thursday night.

The Landscape Commission is tasked with creating an evergreen, master plan for the village's landscaping that will be used to propose village regulations and inform the village's commitment to the ideals of Frederick Law Olmsted, the village's planner.

"We hope that it will be an educational tool for residents," Mahoney said.

The first discussion focused on a village plan for the many landscaped triangles that exist in Riverside where curving streets come together. Mahoney said the trustees plan for the village's triangle spaces would take three to five years to complete.

Mahoney said the commission decided to first focus on the village's triangles because they were relatively small spaces – although there are 46 of them – and that some are currently managed by stewards.

The Landscape Commission, Mahoney said, was trying to find the ideal balance for the village's triangles by keeping them natural in appearance, with framed views and a "sense of mystery" for visitors and residents of Riverside. The commission is researching what native plants and trees should be used in replanting areas after elm trees are removed and that will be able to thrive in the area with climate change in mind.

The commission plans to first focus on triangles that are located at entryways to the village.

"We want to make a good state to the people coming into the village," Mahoney said.

Trustees asked how they could help and wondered how to get more Riverside residents involved in the management of the triangles, which are done by village volunteers. Many triangles in Riverside are currently without stewards, and the board and commission would like to see more adopted by residents. About 10 triangles currently have stewards.

Mahoney said the commission would like to hold informational and training sessions for volunteers that would clearly explain how the triangles should be managed, what invasive or weed species should be removed and to be used to recruit new residents to become stewards.

Trustees suggested offering incentives to stewards in some way, possibly by giving the volunteers a t-shirt. Trustees largely liked this idea, both as a way to recognize the volunteers and to start a conversation with residents who would see neighbors wearing them.

Approval of the commission's first report was added to the board's consent agenda for their next meeting with trustees in unanimous support.

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