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Architect Offers Preliminary Beautification Plans
A downtown Riverbank designed for walkers rather than drivers, with wide sidewalks, canopies of shade trees, landscaped roundabouts, and street lamps, banners and brickwork of a unifying pattern was envisioned at a July 17 joint meeting of the Riverbank City Council and Planning Commission.

Landscape architect Tom Holloway presented the plan being prepared by citizen volunteers serving on the downtown beautification committee, his own KLA Company and Associated Engineering Group.

"We're showing you what we have so far and asking if we're heading in the right direction," said Holloway, adding he plans to bring back the final concept to council in late August.

"This area is important. The downtown is the heartbeat of the community," said Riverbank Economic Development Director Margaret Silveira.

Commission Chairman Brian Elliott hailed the plan as "a future showpiece for the county." Council member Sandy Benitez said she forced herself to stay away from committee meetings because she wanted residents, not officials, to determine the plan's main elements but she is delighted with the results to date.

Holloway noted the area to be improved through the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency covers Third Street from Atchison Street (Highway 108) south to Patterson Road and Santa Fe Street from First Street eastward to Fourth Street.

The engineers are preparing a plan to prevent future flooding by reconstructing stormwater drainage pipes in the area's alleys this fall and will move on to tearing up the streets to replace the infrastructure next spring. Construction of the Plaza Del Rio at the northeast corner of Third and Santa Fe streets and redevelopment and streetscaping of the downtown will start next spring in coordination with the infrastructure improvements.