When it was dammed, Bishop says, Mill Creek was "the back door to the village. The pond was partially filled with sediment, there were invasive species, and it was surrounded by not-high quality trees and shrubs. You didn't think about it, and you didn't look at it. Now it's going to be a real statement entrance. It'll have plazas with vistas along Jeffords. There'll be a walking park, rain gardens, fishing and observation decks, two boat launches--one above and one below the bridge--and an amphitheater with stone outcroppings for seating there and around the park--and all this in an area that has not been accessible for one hundred years."
The total cost will be $1.8 million, including $450,000 from the Trust Fund, $48,000 from Waterways Infrastructure, and $550,000 from the village's parks, landscaping, and general funds--an amount made possible in large part by those increased property tax revenues.
The rest of the landscape northwest of downtown--the American Legion and Knights of Columbus halls and the A&W Root Beer Drive-in--will remain the same after the park's creation. But the riverscape may change further in years to come. "The village does own property on the west bank to past the K of C Hall," says Bishop. "It's all wetlands now, and maybe someday we can continue a trail system towards Chelsea."
[Originally published in June, 2012.]