I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is reprinted from the 12/21/11 edition with permission.

IS RIVERSIDE GETTING IT RIGHT? 
Posted 12/22/2011

The construction trucks have started to move away, the final stones are being put into the “City Of” sign, it even looks like they ran a street sweeper in the Red X parking lot. There’s a new sense of civic pride and the hottest town in the Kansas City Region seems to be… Riverside? Seriously? Yes. Riverside.

True. It seems like Riverside has started to put some big changes in play. Gone are the dusty abandoned lots. Gone are the potholes that welcomed you along Highway 9. The Riverside Red X is still there, but it looks like they might’ve mopped the floors recently. No, that’s not Mr. Clean you’re smelling, that’s the smell of civic pride. Although, civic pride has more of a minty, wintergreen smell.

Sure you can still get a slab of pork, a 12-pack of PBR and a folding lawn chair at the Red X for $10. Sure, you can still get fireworks year round at close to a dozen retailers within the city limits. Sure, that QuikTrip is oddly large for a community of 3,000. But it is undeniable that Riverside is on the rise.

Riverside turns 60 years old this year and they have challenged their citizens to “Do Good” with works of good deeds and charity. The City’s Facebook page (yes, they have a Facebook page – and it’s even updated!) tells story after story of feeding the hungry, green energy ideas for your home and even pictures of this month’s Christmas Tree lighting.

I had a chance to talk with Riverside Mayor Kathy Rose via e-mail and I asked her what she felt the greatest improvements to Riverside have been in the past several years: “The biggest improvements to our community recently have been related to infrastructure: work on our existing streets, sidewalks and curbs; opening new roads and bridges including Cliffview Bridge by City Hall, Argosy Casino Parkway, and Horizons Parkway; adding new trails throughout town and upgrading our parks; and opening the Welcome Plaza in the center of town,” Rose said.

They have also upgraded their town slogan, which I can only assume, used to be “The Town At The End of Vivion Road.” The slogan is now “Upstream from Ordinary,” which is MUCH better. The Corner Cafe is still there. So is the big Red X. But an old scary gas station has been replaced by a hand-crafted stone wall with a waterfall welcoming people to the New and Improved Riverside, Missouri.

Riverside is no longer considered somewhere you pass through on the way to Parkville. Riverside is home to the Argosy Casino, which continually comes in as one of the most profitable casinos in Missouri. It also helps the town afford some much needed infrastructure upgrades. Riverside is also nestled in the shadow of the affluent Briarcliff West community.

The city should be proud of the progress it has made. Even the mayor is getting into the spirit of the resurgence of Riverside. Mayor Kathy Rose, as reported in The Landmark, dawned a cheerleader outfit to take her civic pride into the Parkville Board of Aldermen’s chambers last month to pay off a challenge to Parkville’s mayor. She does seem to have a good sense of humor and in her conversation with me, also mentioned that she is a shopper at Riverside Red X, “you can buy everything there!” And she is also a big fan of the biscuits and gravy at Corner Cafe. (Who isn’t?)

When I asked her what she was most proud of as a lifelong Riversideian (?) Riversider (?) Riversidearian (!), Mayor Rose pointed to the Horizons development area which is the gateway to Briarcliff West and North Kansas City. The development complex is poised to “not only make us a great place to live, but a major player in the metropolitan region.”

With that leadership and direction, Riverside should continue to see growth in the upcoming years. . .Just make sure you keep the shelves stocked at the Red X.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where he goes by the name @fakenedyost. Follow him today, thank us later)