Storm Water Pollution … What You Can Do to Keep Our Rivers and Streams Clean
Rain by its nature is important for replenishing drinking water supplies, recreation and healthy wildlife habitats. It only becomes a problem when pollutants from activities like car washing and maintenance, lawn care and dog walking are left on the ground for rain to wash away into the storm sewer and ultimately into Nebraska’s rivers and streams. Here are some important ways to prevent storm water pollution:
When it rains it drains - What everyone should know about stormwater
Ralston Tall Grass Update
There are a lot of different opinions about Ralston's new tall grass initiative to restore certain unused or little-used portions of city parks and right-of-ways to meadow. Some Ralston park users like it. They think there is an environmental benefit and appreciate that it reduces the time city crews spend mowing grass. Others don't have a strong opinion about it. Often these are people who use the parks just for walking, staying on groomed trails. But a number of residents and park users recently came forward with concerns at city council and park and tree commission meetings. And elected officials and city staff have responded to phone calls, emails and met and talked with residents and users at the parks.
In response to some of these concerns, the city is making the following adjustments to the tall grass program:
1. Pierson Field. The city will cut a greater portion of the top of the hill between the ballfield and 84th Street to allow children more space to play and warm up for games. In addition, there is a sloped island in the parking lot that is difficult to mow, hence the city stopped mowing it. The city will mow the perimeter of the island and the two bump outs on the ends. This is a compromise, but it will provide a neater appearance in keeping with the rest of the parking area.
2. Ponderosa Park. Several residents have told council and the park and tree commission that they enjoy throwing a frisbee in the area of the park near the playscape, but can no longer do so since the introduction of tall grass. The city will do some additional cutting to provide for this activity. In addition, one resident was concerned that there was no access through the tall grass to allow users to walk from one side of the park to the other, north and south. The city will cut open two wide avenues across the tall grass to link the north and south sides of the park.
3. Wildewood Park. One family interviewed on site said that they like to play pick-up games of soccer at the bottom of the hill next to the volleyball court, but are no longer able to do so. The city will do some additional cutting to open the area and also cut an avenue through to the trail.
These changes to the tall grass program will be scheduled as time permits. With the frequent rain in our area, city crews are working to catch up with their regular mowing. The good news is that the city recently hired two full-time workers who will soon be out in the field helping.
There may be other adjustments to the city’s tall grass program as elected officials and city staff listen and learn from residents and park users. We encourage you to continue to reach out to your elected officials and city hall regarding this and other issues of concern to you.
ATTENTION (August 12, 2019): Due to a street undermine, 73rd Avenue between Monroe Circle and Drexel Street has been closed until repairs can be made.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”
The Ralston Police Department is pleased to announce that the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety has approved an overtime grant of nearly $3,000.00 for increased patrols starting August 16, 2019 through September 2, 2019.
The grant will pay for the Ralston Police Department to have additional officers working 66 overtime hours on the streets during this grant period. Through saturated patrols and enforcement of all traffic laws, officers’ emphasis will be on recognizing and stopping impaired drivers. Officers will be cracking down on alcohol-related offenses such as Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, Minor In Possession, Open Container, and .02 Violations
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is a national effort to reduce the number of motorists injured or killed due to alcohol-related crashes. This campaign will run through the Labor Day weekend in response to the high number of vehicles traveling during this peak travelling time.
The Ralston Police Department is proud to team up with the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety in their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
Deputy Chief Bryan Hanson
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Ralston “Hinge” Master Plan
In August 2018, the City of Ralston hired the Omaha-based engineering and planning firm, HDR, to develop a master plan for the “Hinge” redevelopment area. This is a 30-acre site extending along Main Street, from 72nd Street to downtown Ralston. Following a series of public participation meetings, the redevelopment area was extended to include all of downtown Ralston.
Click here for a copy of the Ralston Downtown and Hinge Master Plan.
The master plan is the result of eight months of effort involving extensive citizen participation, planning, market analysis and site engineering. The concept includes mixed-use (commercial on the first floor with residential above) buildings, a variety of residential development types including apartments and townhomes, open spaces for passive recreation and outdoor entertainment, fountains or other water features, an extension of Burlington Street to 72nd Street and new pedestrian connections to create a friendly environment for people to explore on foot.
City leaders are using the plan and associated research to inform and attract area developers to Ralston’s potential as the next frontier for urban redevelopment in the Omaha metro. For more information contact Ralston City Hall at 402-331-6677.
Downtown Ralston Signage Design Guidelines and New Sign Ordinance . . .
The Ralston City Council recently approved a new sign ordinance along with a brochure that provides guidelines to give a sense of the intent and spirit of the ordinance.
Click here to view the signage design guidelines brochure.
The new sign ordinance is available by clicking here.
Ralston Introduces Tall Grass
Ralston is changing our land management practices to include some tall grass areas in our parks and right-of-ways. These long grass areas save money in staff time and equipment as well as fuel, fertilizer and chemical usage. In many areas native plants will naturally replace existing grasses and selected areas will be re-seeded to establish native species, providing a natural habitat for wildlife.
Some examples of tall grass areas:
Ralston has a crew of three full-time park employees who, among other responsibilities, mow almost 60 acres of park land in the city. This is in addition to long stretches of right-of-way along 72nd, 84th, Harrison and L Streets mowed by three full-time streets workers. With limited time and resources, City Council authorized some common-sense changes to the way we maintain city-owned land.
Tall grass areas in our parks and right-of-ways are a change from what we are used to. But communities across the country are adopting this new approach to land management because it is good for the budget and good for the environment. Agencies promoting reduced mowing policies and practices include:
• National Recreation and Park Association
• Natural Resources Conservation Service
• Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• U.S. Department of Agriculture
For further reading, check out the following links: