Put the River Back in Riverside

Riverside’s proximity to the Santa Ana River is the reason for its namesake. The impressive gateway to the city, originally built in 1923, is the Mission Bridge which extends over the river and up into the city through the Buena Vista Bridge. The significance of the Santa Ana River Watershed, which extends from the Pacific Coast to the San Bernardino Mountains, is sometimes lost to the residents of Riverside. Our city is blessed with a 10 mile stretch of land encompassing 250 acres of city-owned property along the Santa Ana River’s natural habitat.

Riverside’s Gateway Bridge circa 1935

Long before the city of Riverside was established, the watershed sustained regional indigenous tribes as well as diverse flora and fauna along its banks. Over the years, the beauty of the river has been lost and neglected as dams and channels changed its shape. It also became exploited for industrial and undesirable uses such as landfills. The city has lost touch with the river and is now actively looking to bring the river back into Riverside.

The Riverside Gateway Project Suite is a proposal to “recover, re-conceive, and re-engage” with the Santa Ana River. According to the City’s site analysis for the project, this presents “a phenomenal opportunity to resuscitate older interactional patterns between the city and river, while adapting those resources to modern life.” The project, which is funded in part by the State Coastal Conservancy, will focus on 8 locations which include current parks such as Martha Mclean Anza Narrows, Loring Park, Camp Evans at Fairmount Park, and Carlson Dog Park. These areas will incorporate existing structures such as the historic Saint Francis Falls at Carlson Park and augment them with new features such as research stations, sensitive area walkways, water play areas, and even reserved camping sites.

If you are interested in finding out more about what is being planned for the Riverside Gateway Parks system along the Santa Ana Riverbottom, Tune in tomorrow evening to participate in this virtual workshop. They will be presenting plans that are in the works and will be asking for community input. Here are the details.

park pic

PRCSD and the Riverside Gateway Parks Team have been working hard since our last virtual workshop in October, and we are excited to share Project updates with you and hear your feedback! The Riverside Gateway Parks project will develop Park Master Plans for sites along the Santa Ana River Trail in Riverside. Once complete, these sites will contribute to the Santa Ana River Parkway and Open Space system, a regional vision for a trail and greenway along the Santa Ana River.

We invite you to connect on the second virtual workshop on Wednesday, February 2 from 6 – 7 p.m. 
If you would like to attend, please use the information below:

Zoom Meeting https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84627232103
Meeting ID: 846 2723 2103
Passcode: 894995

The upcoming workshop will focus on two of the park sites, Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park and the trailhead property at Van Buren Blvd. and Jurupa Ave. In addition to this workshop, we invite you to visit our website RiversideGatewayParks.com to learn more, fill out our survey, and provide comments on our interactive map.
Please note the deadline for providing feedback for Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park and the Jurupa Avenue Trailhead is Saturday, February 5 at 8 p.m.
Help put the “river” back in Riverside!

The Riverside Gateway Project Suite is part of a comprehensive effort by cities and counties along the Santa Ana River Watershed, orchestrated by the California State Coastal Conservancy. It is exciting to know that Riverside is an integral part of this revitalization, creating a string of parks along the river. This will be a “citywide park that provides places to find the peace and harmony of nature within or on the edges of the City’s urban fabric.”

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