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City To Restrict Access In River Cove
RC Pix
This river location, directly across from Jacob Myers Park, is one of several accessed from River Cove, often when parking lots at the park is full. Members of the Riverbank City Council earlier this month voted to close off access to the area along River Cove Drive in an effort to allow the terrain to repair and re-grow. News File Photo

In a unanimous vote last week, the Riverbank City Council moved to cut off river access in River Cove, a neighborhood directly across the Stanislaus River from Jacob Myers Park.

They found that overflow crowds from the park in the summer, when it is full, have led to massive damage to the habitat and ground cover on the levee and the river bank that runs along River Cove Drive.

The original staff proposal, as presented by City Manager Sean Scully, included a date range of April 1 to Sept. 1 this year, but in its motion, the council voted to extend that period until Nov. 1.

“Staff will return with a report to Council at the end of the summer season to identify effectiveness of the closure with regard to the area regrowth and associated nuisance issues,” he wrote.

In addition, he said that staff is researching permanent solutions for Council to consider for future years.

Scully reported that “Split rail fencing will be placed at the entrance locations that lead to the key areas used and those areas that have been most effective by the large amounts of use in the past.”

Also, Scully noted, “Staff is currently working on a plan” for replanting and riparian regrowth, “as well as budgetary requests to appropriate funds for replanting the area that has been damaged over years of use.”

He said enforcement will take a variety of forms depending on the level of voluntary compliance with the closure. Citations can be issued, he pointed out, as the area has been closed by order of the City Council.

“In addition, staff is working with the City Attorney’s office on the feasibility of a no trespassing order which would give law enforcement additional enforcement options for removing individuals or groups that refuse to comply with the closure. In general, staff will use discretion to first educate and then proceed with more progressive enforcement options,” Scully noted.

The River Cove Drive area has seen rising numbers of water enthusiasts using the area during the hottest part of the year over the years, with the area becoming congested so that residents have a difficult time using their own neighborhood.

A spokesman for the River Cove neighborhood who called into the Zoom council meeting on March 9 reported that visitors had been creating new beachheads on that side of the river, using those access points, even cutting down a riverside tree to make more room.