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      City of Ralston

                "The Heart of the Metro" 
                                Ralston, Nebraska

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.

  • Limit mowing in areas that are not used by the public.  Each year cities across the country invest millions of dollars in time, materials and equipment to cut grass in areas that are never used by the public. Why?  Is this a wise use of public funds?  Starting this year Ralston crews will focus primarily on cutting and maintaining areas of our parks that get used by the public, and gradually return other areas to a more natural condition.  This means that grass on hills, for example, which are challenging to mow safely, will be allowed to grow long. For city right-of-ways along major roads, it means making fewer passes and avoiding completely areas that are not visible. 
  • Extend buffer areas along the Ralston Creek.  The federal Environmental Protection Agency requires every community to take measures to protect surface water from pollution.  One way to do this is to create natural tall-grass buffers along lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.  These buffers capture pollution that is carried during a rain storm from parking lots, streets and mowed areas before it reaches the water.
  • Create natural habitats for pollinators, birds and small mammals.  Long grass areas provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for many different pollinators, like butterflies and bees, we need for a healthy and diverse ecosystem.  Pollinators need protection from severe weather and from predators, as well as sites for nesting and roosting.  By incorporating tall grasses in the landscape, pollinators, as well as birds and small mammals, can find the food and shelter they need for survival.  

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:

https://conservationtools.org/guides/151-from-lawn-to-meadow

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/outgrowing-the-traditional-grass-lawn/?redirect=1

                                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.


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:

  • Properly dispose of hazardous substances such as used oil, cleaning supplies and paint – NEVER pour them down any part of the storm sewer system.
  • Wash your car on the grass to prevent runoff into the storm sewer.
  • Use pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff.
  • Look for signs of soil and other pollutants, such as debris and chemicals, leaving construction sites in storm water runoff or tracked into roads by construction vehicles. Report poorly managed construction sites that could impact storm water runoff to us.
  • Install innovative storm water practices on residential property, such as rain barrels or rain gardens, which capture storm water and keep it on site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
  • Report any discharges from storm water outfalls during times of dry weather – a sign that there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
  • Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. No matter where pets make a mess – in a back yard or at the park – storm water runoff can carry pet waste into streams. 
  • Store indoors materials that could pollute storm water.  If these materials have to be stored outdoors, use containers that do not rust or leak

For more information, check out the following links:
www.epa.gov/npdes/npdes-stormwater-program
www.omaha.stormwater.org

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. 

CITY CALENDAR

Our Mission:

The City of Ralston is a dedicated and caring team of volunteers, staff, and officials who provide high-quality, equitably priced services to sustain a safe and progressive community that supports family values.


Our Vision:

The City of Ralston will deliver economic, creative, cultural, and community development strategies to generate a quality of life that is a beacon of dynamic and independent small town culture within the metro area.

Online Payments


The City of Ralston accepts online payments for many services. Now you have the ability to use your favorite credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express) to pay for building and plumbing permits as well as licenses and restaurant tax.

This service is in addition to the payments that are accepted online by the Ralston Police Department. You can request and pay for a police report online or pay parking tickets online. All waiverable traffic citations may also be paid online through the State of Nebraska Web site. If your traffic citation indicates at the bottom that it is "waiverable" and it has dollar amounts filled in, then the citation is eligible to be paid online.

To access the online reports and payment options for the Ralston Police Department, hover over the Police Department link on the left side of any City Web page and choose the link you want.


Upcoming Events at the Ralston Arena


Visit  www.ralstonarena.com.

Sign  up for a text message to receive information about the upcoming events at the arena as well as promotional offers.

To opt in - just text RALSTON to 36000.