New Riverview Park rec center meeting scheduled for October


The mayor’s office plans to organize a public meeting about the proposed Riverview Park Community Center for the first week in October.

The last meeting concerning the recreation center happened in June, and regular meetings have lapsed due to the hectic nature of planning for the G-20 economic summit, said Kim Graziani, director of neighborhood initiatives for the Mayor’s Office.

At the upcoming meeting, representatives from the Mayor’s Office will meet at the site with Councilwoman Darlene Harris, state Rep. Don Walko, community members from adjoining neighborhoods and the center’s architect, J.T. Sauer and Associates.

Graziani said that they still needed to plan phases for the projects, as well as test the soil again to ensure it’s safe for construction, since it has a history of industrial use.

Citiparks’s director Duane Ashley said the site was used to dump industrial waste from 1939 until the mid-70s. It contains contaminates such as heavy metals and sewer waste.

D’Appolonia, an international engineering firm hired by Citiparks to test the site, recommended placing a 2-foot cap of clean soil over the entire site for further safety.

Although they’ve already done a preliminary test and made the soil cap recommendation, Ashley said the firm would do another in-depth test in November to ensure the soil cap is sufficient to protect the community.

“We’re going through a lot of checks and balances,” he said.

Once D’Appolonia makes its final recommendations, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection must sign off on the report.

Jim Sauer, owner of J.T. Sauer, said that they are still in the concept phase of the project, although they have done some design work. 

As reported by The Northside Chronicle in March, the six-acre community center would potentially include indoor workout facilities, a soccer field and an outdoor walking track.

Graziani and Sauer said that specifics were still up in the air and open to community discussion.

“There’s been a proposed design, but nothing’s been finalized,” Graziani said.

Sauer said that he did not know the project’s timeline, or which would be built first: the soccer field or the community center building.

“We’ve been on standby as much as anyone else,” Sauer said.

Ashley said Citiparks set aside $2 million for the first phase of the project, which includes soil remediation, construction of the soccer field and an outdoor walking track.

Mayor Ravenstahl proposed the recreation center in a February community meeting in Brightwood. At that meeting Walko said the center would be free to the public, except on special occasions.

Sauer said that he and the mayor’s office had met with community members each month to discuss the plans up until July when planning for the G-20 became the priority.

Walko confirmed in an e-mail that the $4 million he set aside in the state’s capital budget was still available. 

Harris said that the city planned on using RAD money to partially fund the center, but she did not have any details.

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