The West Bull Mountain Concept Plan, the predecessor to the River Terrace Community Plan, established the vision to create a Community of Great Neighborhoods. As planners, stakeholders, and advisors it can be easy to get lost in the details of specific decisions that need to be made while creating a community plan. Once in a while it is important to take a step back from the big picture and reflect upon what we are trying to poster_winner_2014accomplish.

Mayor Cook’s, “If I Were Mayor I Would…” student contest offers a perfect opportunity to do just that. Elementary students answered this question through a poster and middle school students through an essay. The winners portray what makes a great community through their eyes. As 6th grader Kyle Ferrero stated in his essay, “I believe that good schools, enough jobs, and safe, friendly neighborhoods make a great community.”

The poster identifies actions such as making more sidewalks near schools, adding play structures to parks, and discouraging littering. The essay spoke of supporting local businesses, increasing safety by adding bike lanes and sidewalks, and supporting after school programs as well as the importance of understanding everyone’s point of view on local issues.

In River Terrace, we have the unique opportunity of planning a neighborhood from the ground up. There are still challenges such as how to minimize impacts to existing neighborhoods and how to make an inviting pedestrian environment at the intersection of two large arterial roads. As we finalize the Transportation System Plan and Water, Sewer, Wastewater, and Parks Master Plan Addendums, let’s keep in mind the perspectives of our younger project stakeholders in what it means to create a Community of Great Neighborhoods.

View the winning poster by 5th grader Karen Maddox >>

Read the winning essay by 6th grader Kyle Ferrero >>