This September is the 150th Anniversary of the Township and unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, multiple events leading up to, and including the main celebration itself, have been postponed for the foreseeable future. It is the hope that some events can be resumed at a time when it is once again safe to celebrate in large gatherings. The Township did manage two re-worked events during the shutdown however. On May 7th, there was a planting of pollinator seeds in open areas of Riverside Lawn. Initially planned to involve community participation, the Township Board instead did the planting alone. On June 6th, a document shredding event was held at the Masonic Lodge in Riverside, but with social distancing measures in place.
Riverside Township was established on September 24, 1870, when around four square miles of the southeast corner of Proviso Township were legally separated from Proviso by the Cook County Board. The Township is bound by Harlem Avenue on the east, 22nd Street on the north, 39th Street on the south, and 9th Avenue in North Riverside, through the forest preserve, Brookfield Zoo, and the Hollywood section of Brookfield on the west.
Township government can be confusing in northern Illinois because it overlaps with municipalities, but it is efficient, close to the people, and provides direct government by the people in an Annual Town Meeting. By law, there are 3 mandatory functions of a Township: administering a General Assistance Program (Riverside Township also provides Emergency Assistance), maintaining Township roads, district highways, and bridges (applies to the Swinging Bridge and streets of Riverside Lawn), and Assessor services. Also, as allowed by law, Townships provide senior & youth services and programs, along with other societal needs. In Riverside Township, that includes a Food Pantry, Nurse’s Closet, exercise classes, community usage of the Town Hall building, free weekly movies, and notary services. There is also the Riverside Township Mental Health Board, which provides a Community Resource Center and supports numerous mental health agencies and initiatives throughout the area.