Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A New River Through Downtown Stamford

Down the hill from where I live the Mill River cuts a fairly straight line through a valley of Inwood marble, slowing through marshes and swamps, and then emptying into Stamford's reservoirs before continuing through the heart of Stamford to Long Island Sound. One of my opthamologists has his office on Mill River Street, in Stamford, and the last time I was there, in November, my son, Kaare, and I walked across the street and through the park to peer over the concrete wall into the river.

I can forgive the park itself for not being very attractive on a gray November day, but the river is another story -- bleak, apparently stagnant, broad and shallow, walled in by concrete, and inhabited by a handful of ducks and gulls. In that part of town it's not much more than a huge gutter.

While we were looking down into the water, I told Kaare that there had been plans to make the Mill River park and the river nicer for people and much better for wildlife, but that I hadn't heard much about it lately. Then earlier this month, Milton Puryear, who works for the Stamford planning department under a contract with the Trust for Public Land, emailed me that the city had gotten federal funding to continue the restoration of the park and the river (including dam removal, which would help restore the spring spawning runs of anadromous fish) and that the project has a new website,

It's a big project and it won't be finished quickly, but good things will start happening soon. Here's what Milton told me about scheduling:

We hope to start the river restoration and dam removals by this time next year and complete them in about 18 months.

Acquisition of the remaining large properties will range from 3-10 years.

We will launch a capital campaign this summer to raise funding for key features like fountain, skating rink, carousel, kayak launch and depending on success some of these can immediately follow the Army Corps work.

We also plan to extend the greenway upstream to Scalzi Park (3-4 yrs) to achieve a 3-mile greenway out to the Sound. Work on the east side of the river may take longer as it is tied to private development of sites along Clinton Avenue just north of the new RBS building.

There's a road called Shad Road in my town, under which the Mill River flows, presumably because in times past shad would ascend the river and spawn in these middle reaches (the river continues up for a number of miles through South Salem, and rises in Ridgefield). We'll never see anadromous fish again up here, unless Aquarion puts fish ladders on its reservoir dams. But it's nice to know that the good water that flows through Pound Ridge will reach a healtheir river in downtown Stamford.



Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker