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Mayor Assesses State Of City
Riverbank Mayor Richard D. OBrien presented his third State of the City message to citizens and dignitaries on Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Galaxy Theatre. He touched on progress the city has made over the last year as well as plans for its future. Ric McGinnis/The News

In a special presentation hosted at the Galaxy 12 Theatres in Riverbank on Thursday night, Mayor Richard O’Brien offered some thoughts on the state of the city, with the mayor noting that the “City of Action” is in pretty good shape.

The mayor expressed his confidence that the city is providing the best services possible and it is proactively shaping its own future.

He did speak of some concerns over the development of the North County Corridor east of the present city limits. O’Brien explained how the proposed routes might impact future commercial access to the roadway if the city does not act now to stake a claim. He showed how needed rural interchanges with the corridor at Eleanor Road would become just overpasses in the current plan if the city does not act, forcing potential truck traffic on a circuitous path to connect and use the corridor.

Also, the mayor pointed out that one of the proposed routes would slice off a sizable portion of the south end of the Riverbank Industrial Complex near Claus and Claribel roads. This proposed route is expected to reduce the land available for development of industrial/commercial uses.

There were a wide range of topics touched on during the evening, with a couple more outlined here.


District Elections

Mayor O’Brien explained the process that led to the city’s evaluating and considering District Elections, which would divide the city’s neighborhoods into demographic areas and candidates for Riverbank City Council from each area would be elected by those voters. The mayor’s race would remain a city-wide election.

He pointed out that the city began the process to study and implement District Elections because of threats from activists and implied lawsuits from Bay Area and Southern California law firms over state and federal voting rights act laws.

The city provided maps of the nine proposed configurations of districts for the public to view in the theater lobby before and after the presentation.


Departmental Planning

The mayor discussed the strategic planning effort and how it was used by each department to guide prioritization of its work and how budget concerns would shape future efforts by the departments.

O’Brien said that General Plan changes will be presented to the council in May, while a Patterson Road Concept Plan Workshop is scheduled for today, Wednesday, Feb. 25 at city hall at 6 p.m., with the public invited to attend.

Another Americans with Disabilities Act workshop is planned for Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m. at the Community Center.


The mayor also reviewed the efforts of Stanislaus Consolidated Fire and Riverbank Police Services over the past year.

He indicated the Riverbank Industrial Complex project is still waiting for the Army to complete the transfer of the former Army Ammunition Plant property to the Local Redevelopment Agency, but occupancy of the facility is up to 90 percent of the presently usable space with 39 businesses operating at the facility.

Mayor O’Brien recognized the efforts of city department heads and staff in getting things done and praised the efforts of the various non-profit, volunteer groups who provide goods and services throughout the community.