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South Valley Journal

Riverton introduces new volunteer committees to increase community participation

Aug 20, 2018 04:01PM ● By Jana Klopsch

By Mariden Williams | mariden.w@mycityjournals.com 

Riverton officials have created five new volunteer committees to aid elected officials and city employees in tackling projects and making decisions. 

"These committees, we felt like would be a strong initiative to engage and inform residents—more so, to give more residents the opportunity to participate in our local government," said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “There are so many talented people that are willing to give back to their community, and it is our hope that these committees will provide opportunities for more people to get involved and make a difference.” 

The committees, established by the city council through Resolution No. 18-34 this year, will play an important role in advising the mayor and other city leaders in key areas. Each committee will consist of seven voting members who will meet at least quarterly. City staff members will support each committee, and several city council members have also expressed interest in attending committee meetings.

"I’ve got to say, both the quality and the quantity of the applicants was amazing," said Staggs. "We have some incredible residents here in our community. We've always known that, but the fact that we have so many that are willing—that are not just high quality, but also so many that are willing to volunteer in these various capacities—is something that I think speaks volumes about our community."

There are currently five committees that will each focus on one of the following topics: economic development, parks and recreation, community events, emergency preparedness and transportation. 

The economic development committee will focus mainly on the revitalization of Riverton's downtown area, as well as looking at the city's fiber optic internet project and other projects. The current members are Matt Wilkinson, Andy Pierucci, Todd Jensen, Doug Harris, Clark Harvey, Terry Webb and Matthew Renlund. 

The parks, recreation and trails committee consists of Jason Judd, Brian Morris, Howard Nuttall, Scott Jacobson, Tasha Sylvester, Wesley Ellis and Kendall Payne. 

"The main idea here is to inventory the park space that we currently have, see if it's adequate for all the sports organizations or the passive trails and activities that our residents want and currently enjoy, and then also to take a look at some of the new development," said Staggs. 

The emergency preparedness committee is perhaps the committee that earned the most discussion from the city council at its strategic planning session at the beginning of the year, and a chunk of the city budget has been set aside for just this purpose.

"We've found that this is an area that we need to try to bolster a little bit," said Staggs. This committee consists of James Huntington, Michael White, David Almond, Todd Gover, Lynn Nunes, Nichols Richey and Steve Merrill. 

The community events committee, comprising Scott Reid, Pam Henderson, Jessica Davie, Lara Huff, Dennis Page, Stephanie Walsh and Kevin Michels, will likely focus most of its energies on the Riverton's annual Town Days celebration, though it will provide feedback and help develop the city's other events as well. 

"This is a good area for the public to be involved, not just on helping curate these events, but also a big component of it, I think, is fundraising," said Staggs. 

The transportation committee, for now, only has one member—the council only approved the creation of a transportation committee very recently, so applications haven't been open for as long. Jon Gilchrist is currently the lone member, though he will hopefully have others joining him before too long. 

“Riverton has a long-standing tradition of volunteerism,” said Councilwoman Tish Buroker. “Our first canals, roads and park would not have been built without citizens working together toward a positive common goal. Continuing to provide citizens with opportunities to participate actively will foster increased cooperation and support of our citizens.”