Did you know? A little Riverview history lesson

Under the category of “Did you know?” 

In the late 1950s-1960s, the population of Riverview was exploding, with housing developments and kids. 

The baby boomers were returning from war, which included, World War II, and the Korean War, and they needed housing and school buildings and classrooms. 

At the time, the school district had a lot of students in portable classrooms, including rooms that were located in houses leased from a developer. These houses were located on Marsha Street and Matthews Street. 

Riverview had some problems to solve and not much time to do it. 

An idea was hatched that if the City owned the property, we could control the housing development explosion. So, the City set out by first having a bond issue a $2 million dollar 

Recreation Bond Issue. If passed, would pay to buy up all the empty acreage in the city. 

To no one’s surprise, the issue passed!  

The Riverview School board being one of the richest in the state of Michigan, built a new high school, junior high, and a number of elementary schools. 

Problem Solved? Not quite. 

Now came the issue of how could the city pay back the bond money. 

Since the city, unlike the school district, was not flush with cash, and asking the taxpayers to pay more to pay the tab was not a palatable idea, so another idea was hatched. 

A private citizen suggested to a councilman, good friends at the time, “Why not open a profit-making landfill on part of the empty property the city now owns?? 

Viola, the city’s Mount Trashmore was born. 

Problems solved. But wait, not so fast. 

The lobbyists for the competing landfills in the area managed to stall the needed permit and without the money from the dumping revenue forthcoming, the city was in a bind and had to sell off some of the excess acreage – this is property where Riverview Green Apartments is now located – to keep the wolf away from the door.

This worked temporarily until pressure was brought to bear by some friendly state politicians, who I’m sure talked to the lobbyists for the surrounding area landfill owners. The permit was finally issued and the problem was solved.

But now, what to do with the rest of the excess empty acreage? How about a golf course? The city could use the landfill equipment and manpower to cover part of the construction expense.

I mentioned above that “Riverview was once one of the richest school districts in Michigan.

 Oh yes. We once had part of Penn Salt Chemicals, Sharples Chemicals, Jones Chemicals, Firestone Steel Products, the Stone Quarry, McLouth Steel Products, (It should be noted here that the school district reached all the way to King Road and took in all of McLouth Property) General Electric, Yankee department store, A&P grocery store, Farmer Jacks grocery store, not to mention a lot of small businesses, and all these entities paid big taxes. 

Which brings us to today. Every business I mentioned above, with the exception of Jones Chemicals and the Stone Quarry, are all gone. Most paid city of Riverview taxes, with the exception of a small part of McLouth property, and the Stone Quarry.

We now are looking to solve new problems.

Any Ideas out there?  

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