Mullet River committee faces big challenge

THE MULLET RIVER CORRIDOR Study Committee has a lot on their plate – and their goal is to clear their plate as quickly as possible.

The panel will be examining issues along the Mullet River from one end of the city to the other – from State 23 on the north side to County PP on the south side.

That includes examining the bicycle/pedestrian path along the river.

Currently, that is primarily the Riverwalk through downtown Plymouth, with loose connections mostly via city streets to the north and south.

The potential exists to strengthen the path all along the river and one of the committee’s tasks will be to find a way to accomplish that.

Downtown areas that will be on the committee’s agenda include the possible removal of the parking ramp (but not the parking deck) on the east end of downtown, burying overhead electric lines serving Mill Street properties and the future of the retaining wall along the Mullet River.

All of those have the potential to enhance and strengthen the downtown, but they will require careful consideration of how they can be done, how they will be paid for and their impact on that stretch of the river corridor.

The major question the committee will face is the future of the Mill Pond and dam.

The venerable landmark faces an uncertain future. The state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing an engineering report on the dam and is expected to rule before the end of the year on a rating for the dam, which is currently considered a high-hazard dam by the DNR – and it doesn’t appear likely that that rating will change.

That’s a lot of work for the committee members to chew on, but they won’t be working on it alone.

The city has hired a consultant, MSA Professional Services, to guide and help the committee in their task. The committee can also draw on the resources of city staff and the city’s consulting engineers, Kapur and Associates, to aid them in their efforts.

With all of that help, the committee has set a timeline of six months to complete their study and present a final report to the City Council and the public.

That timeline includes a public information meeting in June or July to present the committee’s findings and to get public input on all of the questions at issue.

The committee will be meeting monthly and meetings are always open to the public.

The Mullet River runs through the very heart of the city and is, in many ways, the heartbeat of the city.

Its future is vital to the city and all of us who live, work or play here. The study committee’s charge is a big one, but it’s one they can accomplish.

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