Corridor plan ready for public unveiling

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Mullet River Corridor Study Committee got a first look Wednesday at the possible price tag for improvements along the river.

The group also readied the concept plans developed by consultant Andrew Bremer of MSA Professional Services for their public debut next month.

A public information meeting on the plans for a downtown park along the Mullet behind Mill Street, along with alternatives for the Mill Pond area, is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m. at a location yet to be determined.

“I believe we’re at a point where we’re comfortable to go to an open house, invite the public to come in and make comments,” Bremer told the committee.

The format would be to hold a 90-minute open house with displays of the various plans, including a short presentation by Bremer to explain the plans.

The plans drawn up by Bremer and MSA include extending and enhancing the Mullet River walkway; improvements and enhanced public access to the Mill Pond area, including alternatives for the pond staying if the dam remains and for a return to the river channel if the dam is removed; and a re-imagined downtown park for the area along the north bank of the Mullet River south of Mill Street.

Bremer stressed that the cost estimates he was providing to the committee are extremely preliminary and not based on any firm estimates.

The lowest price tag was for the river trail improvements, which would be broken down into shortterm ($178,500) and long-term goals ($547,740).

The downtown park was estimated at a cost of just under $2.5 million.

Removal of the Mill Pond dam and improvements would come to just over $1.5 million, according to the MSA estimates, while retaining the dam and pond would require flood control measures downriver such as a levee ($2 million to $2.5 million) and dredging of the Mill Pond (estimated at as much as $7 million).


The Mullet River Corridor Study Committee has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, Aug. 19, to review and gather input on plans developed by MSA Consultant for possible improvements in the river corridor. The plans include a potential downtown riverfront park (top) and improvements in the Mill Pond area if the dam is removed and the pond eliminated (middle) or if the dam is maintained (bottom). The Mullet River Corridor Study Committee has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, Aug. 19, to review and gather input on plans developed by MSA Consultant for possible improvements in the river corridor. The plans include a potential downtown riverfront park (top) and improvements in the Mill Pond area if the dam is removed and the pond eliminated (middle) or if the dam is maintained (bottom). Bremer and City Administrator Brian Yerges both emphasized that the cost estimates for the Mill Pond area did not include land acquisition costs for creating greater public access to the area.

Yerges also pointed out that there would still need to be a resolution to riparian land rights with property owners adjacent to the current Mill Pond if the dam is removed and the pond drained.

It is estimated that draining the pond would create an additional nine acres or so of green space along the Mullet River between Fairview Drive and North Street.

Any plan for the Mill Pond area should include creating greater access to the area by acquiring properties to create an access corridor to the river or pond, Bremer said.

The plans for restoring the river call for creating passive recreational space in the reclaimed land areas, with fishing and canoe access to the river while maintaining an ice skating area at the existing skating warming shack.

“We’ve got ice skating there now and we’re trying to keep it there,” Bremer told the committee.

The downtown park plan would include removing the access ramp on the west side of the Mill Street parking ramp; reconfiguring parking (but maintaining the same number of parking spaces); creating a water plaza/open air shelter and upgraded children’s park; and moving the current dog park to the east in part of the vacant area created by removing the ramp.

The latter created some division among committee members.

Alderman David Williams said he would prefer to see the dog park moved out of the area immediately, with committee member Jan Cecka suggesting it could be moved to the green space along the Mullet River if the Mill Pond is drained.

But other committee members noted that the dog park is used primarily by downtown residents who would have to go further if the park is relocated.

For the river walk, Bremer said the principal short-term improvement would be in the area behind the old utilities building on South Milwaukee Street, including upgrading the existing bridge over the river, to extend the trail toward Meyer Park.


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