City needs to protect Riverfront Park

Upgrading and expansion of pump station
In reference to the May 2 article [“Residents raise more questions on pump station”] on the sewage pump station in Riverfront Park, one point of correction and a few additional points. When quoted in the article, I was identified as an engineer. Although there were engineers in the room, I was not one of them.
As reported, virtually everyone at the meeting was strongly opposed to the current location and scale of the expanded pump station. I also spoke with many additional property owners and residents that were opposed but could not make that meeting.
Although we support and understand the need to upgrade the city’s wastewater system, taking irreplaceable parkland in Riverfront Park is not the way to go about it. It became clear at the meeting that this is not just an upgrade to the pump station; it is a dramatic expansion in the amount of sewage that will be sent to the park on a daily basis. Given this expansion, and the requirement for millions of dollars in new piping, looking for alternatives outside the park makes sense. Unfortunately, the consultants for the city never seriously considered those alternatives.
The other point that became clear is that rebuilding or retrofitting the existing pump house is a much better idea than taking new parkland for this purpose. The mayor and council should direct their consultants to evaluate and develop costs for options outside the park, or at a minimum, develop a strategy for reusing the existing pump house site.
Lastly, this is not a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue. Riverfront Park is enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors every year and by some residents on a daily basis. Like our other city parks, it is a precious resource worthy of protection. Furthermore, from an economic standpoint, the park is integral to the surrounding property values and tax base.
 As property owners in the Stockade, we collectively pay some of the highest property taxes in the city, and it should be in everyone’s interests to protect those property values.
John Samatulski
The writer is part of Urban Initiatives Group.

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Leave a Reply