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The Plan for Mill River Park


In July 2007, Olin Partnership prepared a master plan for Mill River Park and Greenway. This document, The Plan for Mill River Park, created in October 2014, draws heavily on that plan, with changes and additions to document the current scope of the project.


The Plan for Mill River Park October 2014

David S. Martin—Mayor Arthur Selkowitz—Board Chair Milton Puryear—Executive Director


Table of Contents Introduction Project Defininition..................................................................................................................................................6

Site Context Geographic and Physiographic Features........................................................................................................................................12 Urban Context..........................................................................................................................................................12 Mill River......................................................................................................................................................................15

Implementation Stages Project 1....................................................................................................................................................................... 16 Project 2..................................................................................................................................................................... 18 Project 3.................................................................................................................................................................... 20 Project 4.....................................................................................................................................................................22 Project 5.................................................................................................................................................................... 24 Projects 6–9............................................................................................................................................................. 26

Program Proposed Program Ideas................................................................................................................................... 28 Program..................................................................................................................................................................... 29 Park Path Types and Materials....................................................................................................................... 32 Park Planting........................................................................................................................................................... 36 Park Drainage & Utilities.................................................................................................................................... 42

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Park Design Park Design Elements......................................................................................................................................... 46 Mill River Park—North Park Space................................................................................................................ 48 Mill River Park—South Park Space.................................................................................................................57

Park Lighting Park Lighting........................................................................................................................................................... 67 Bridge Lighting...................................................................................................................................................... 67 Bridges....................................................................................................................................................................... 68

Park Programming & Events Park Events.............................................................................................................................................................. 70

Conclusion

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Introduction

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Project Definition Located along the lower reaches of the Rippowam River in southwestern Connecticut, the Mill River Park Project will bring an active, vibrant and verdant environment to Stamford’s downtown urban riverfront. Once completed, it will offer residents and visitors to Stamford an array of recreational riverfront amenities, public open spaces and ecologically diverse habitats. With numerous connections between the east and west, north and south, the Mill River Park Project will, once again, make the river a prominent, alluring and accessible place within Downtown Stamford.

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The historical context for the Mill River Park Project reaches back to the 1880s, when a representative of Yale and Towne Lock Company proposed a park on the river. He was ridiculed for suggesting a “million dollar project.” Then in 1929, Herbert Swan, the author of Stamford's first master plan, proposed a downtown park and greenways along all of Stamford’s rivers. He wrote, “This park is of such great importance to the community as to demand consideration well in advance of the subdivision of the land.” The Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression intervened. Stamford was reminded of the need to fix the river by hurricanes and floods in 1938 and 1955, and the major losses of property that resulted. A series of studies were commissioned by the City and the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce flood risk along the Mill River. The objectives of managing flood risk and creating major new open space along Mill River merged in the goal of creating a world–class Mill River Park. The expansion of the existing, little used, Mill River Park from six to twenty–six acres became the centerpiece of the Sasaki & Associates Mill River Corridor Plan commissioned by the Urban Redevelopment Commission in 1998. It led to the creation of the Mill River Corridor redevelopment district in 2001 and the formation of Mill River Park Collaborative in 2002.

Mill River Dam

Courtesy of Stamford Historical Society

With the support of Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, the Collaborative took the lead in bringing public and private resources and talent together to restore Mill River and create Mill River Park. In 2004, the City accepted the Army Corps of Engineers recommendation to restore the river under the Corps’ Section 260 Habitat Restoration Program. The Collaborative coordinated, and partially funded, the hiring by the City of the design team led by Olin Partnership. The Collaborative managed a design collaboration between Olin and the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the river as the foundation for the creation of Mill River Park.

THE MILL RIVER AND THE HISTORY OF STAMFORD For much of Stamford’s history, as the Rippowam River entered its last reach before Stamford Harbor, it slowed into the impounded Mill Pond, spilling over the historic dam above Main Street. The lower

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summer, probably near the falls to the south. Voted to Richard Webb in 1662, it was operated by that family for a century. In 1708 the first of two tide grist mills and a dam were built at the mouth of the “Mill River.”

reaches of the Rippowam came to be known as the Mill River over the years. The Rippowam River watershed drains 37.5 square miles that extend from just north of the New York line to Long Island Sound. Approximately 75% of the Rippowam watershed is in Stamford.

In 1760 the first fulling mill joined the upstream grist mill, and by about 1789 a flax mill was added. These became the Holly Rolling Mills by 1837. Later known as the Rippowam Works, they were returned to wool manufacture in 1862. The buildings burned in 1886 and were never replaced. Stamford Bicentennial Kiwanis Club of Stamford Stamford Historical Society

The Mill River and its historic series of dams powered a series of mills, starting with the first dam and gristmill constructed in 1641. The plaque shown above reads: 1776 • 1976 Rippowam River Mills Along this river, from the nearby pond to the harbor, Stamford’s people built and operated mills: grist mills, fulling mills, a flax mill, a planing mill, rolling mills, and, finally, a woolen mill. A grist mill was erected “at a common charge” by the settlers during their first

Mill River Pond skaters

Courtesy of Stamford Historical Society

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In 1922, the dam was rebuilt (Ambursen Dam) and the pond encased with walls in order to meet the requirements of an abutting industrial firm, the Diamond Ice Company. The company closed down operations around 1960. The pond was also an attraction for ice skating. Substantial freezing no longer occurs. In the 1940s and 1950s, Junzo Nojima, Stamford resident and immigrant from Japan, planted and cultivated the grove of Kwanzan cherry trees that came to be the most recognizable symbol of Mill River Park. His gift to the City and its residents earned him a place among the Heroes of Stamford and his story is depicted in a book that can be viewed at the Stamford Historical Society. In October 1955, a record two-day rainfall caused extensive flooding and property damage in downtown Stamford. Another significant flood event occurred in 1972. In both April and October, 2007, 50year flood events caused the closing of Washington Boulevard, Stamford’s primary north-south artery, as well as flooding to the north and east. Damage from these floods reached into the millions of dollars.

All images on this page are courtesy of the Stamford Historical Society.

West Main Street Bridge, 1955

Ludlow Street, 1938

Summer Street looking towards Fifth, 1938 millriverpark.com

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Site Context

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Geographic and Physiographic Features The Mill River Park Project lies nestled in a diverse geologic area within the Rippowam River basin. Located in Fenneman’s (1938) New England Upland section of the New England Province, the project area’s topography is characterized by gently to

1985)2, it is classified as a Black Hill Member of the Quinebaug Formation. The watershed immediately surrounding the project boundary is largely urban, mainly composed of impervious surfaces. The river channel cuts through Stamford’s urban fabric, typically laying 7 to 10 feet below the surrounding street level. This channel bottom drops 6 feet in elevation between Broad Street and the Main Street Bridge, and then becomes nearly level at the tidally influenced remainder of the river.

Urban Context PHYSICAL CONNECTIVITY

USGA satellite image

moderately sloping ridgetop and slopes in glacial till uplands1. The underlying bedrock in this region evolved from sedimentary origins consisting of Paleozoic-era rock formations of the Middle Ordovician period. Described as gray, fine-grained, well-layered schist and granofels (Rogers

Centrally located within downtown Stamford, the Mill River Park Project acts as an “urban connector,” linking the city to the river and linking neighborhoods across and along the river east to west and north to south via paths and improved corridors for walking and cycling. Once completed, the Project will provide connections not only to the urban fabric of the city but also to the three major public spaces with proximity to downtown: Scalzi Park, Kosciuszko Park and Woodland Cemetery. As a component of the Rippowam/Mill River Trail, the

“Mill River and Mill Pond Habitat Restoration Project Stamford, Connecticut, Draft Environmental Assessment, Section 2006 Program Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Appendix A: Historical and Archeological Resources”, US Army Corps of Engineers New England District, May 2004.

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“ Mill River and Mill Pond Habitat Restoration Project Stamford, Connecticut, Draft Environmental Assessment, Section 2006 Program Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Appendix A: Historical and Archeological Resources”, US Army Corps of Engineers New England District, May 2004.

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Existing character of Mill River Park

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urban green space connector3. With the restoration of the river edge, the Mill River Park Project will support a host of native flora and fauna and create rich, ecologically diverse conditions that attract and accommodate seasonal migration patterns.

SCALZI PARK

Mill River PROJECT BOUNDARY

WOODLAND CEMETERY

KOSCIUSZKO PARK

Mill River Park and adjacent parks shown with future planned connections

Project becomes an integral segment of a broader regional trailway system.

ECOLOGICAL In addition to creating physical connections for residents and visitors, the City and Collaborative are also dedicated to expanding and enhancing the Mill River corridor as a wildlife passageway and

The Mill River Park project area encompasses nearly 3/4 of a linear mile of public riverfront parkland and 26 contiguous acres of open space. While the Project provides walking extensions to surrounding areas, the predominant portion of the Project is contained to the north by Scalzi Park and to the south by Pulaski Street. Greenwich Avenue and Mill River Street define the western edge of the Mill River Park Project, and a combination of Washington Boulevard and Clinton Avenue roughly delineate the northeastern boundary. Along the southeastern edge, the greenway runs through riverfront easements to connect to the Harbor Point section of the greenway, which in turn connects to Kosciuszco Park.

“Mill River and Mill Pond Habitat Restoration Project Stamford, Connecticut, Draft Detailed Project Report, Section 2006 Program Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration�, US Army Corps of Engineers New England District, May 2004.

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Implementation Stages

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Mill River Park today and tomorrow The Park is a multi-project development. To date, we have completed the first three projects.

Project 1 Project 1 was the creation of the Mill River Playground on the corner of Tresser Boulevard and West Main Street. The playground was designed by Stamford children and built by thousands of volunteers in a one-week “barn raising� in 2006. Today, hundreds of children gather daily at the playground. This onceunkempt area has been transformed into a safe child-centered playground, and the surrounding garden provides an opportunity for children and adults to interact with nature and enjoy the 18,000 flowers planted there.

Status: Complete

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Project 2 Project 2 was the Restoration of Mill River in 2009. With the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, a river that was once dammed and degraded has been restored and revived. The river now runs free for the first time in 360 years and has become the home to many new species of fish and wildlife, including river herring, eels, and mink. The 100year flood elevations have been lowered by 3 feet in Downtown Stamford and the flood will be contained in Mill River Park’s own floodplain in the future.

Status: Complete 2007

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2013

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Project 3 The completion of Project 3 in 2013 included the creation of 12 acres of beautiful landscape in the heart of Stamford. This work included the replacement of all topsoil to provide a viable planting medium as well as the development of an intricate land-based filtration system to cleanse the vast majority of stormwater before it reaches the river. In addition, the Aquarion Rain Garden filters stormwater originating from the streets of the city’s West Side. Thousands of new shrubs and 400 new trees were added, including 70 new cherry trees. In fact, the Park now has the largest cherry tree grove in New England.

Status: Complete

The Karp Family Great Lawn millriverpark.com

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Project 4 Project 4 will be the Brownstein/Selkowitz Pavilion, which will house the Nissen Carousel. The Nissen Carousel, with its 30 hand-carved figures and a fully accessible chariot, will provide joy for children of all ages. The Pavilion will also include the Osman Patio and the Rich Pantry for snacks and light meals. The Pavilion, Carousel, and Patio will be available for both large and small private party rentals.

Status: Design and funding are complete, and construction is planned for first quarter of 2015.

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Project 5 Project 5 includes the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Ice Skating Center & Fountain and the Discovery Center Park Building. The Ice Skating Center & Fountain will provide an ideal venue for family recreation. The 9,000-square-foot ice rink will be artistically illuminated and will transform into a magical interactive fountain during the warmer months. The adjoining Discovery Center Park Building will house a restaurant, skate rentals, and the Singer Learning Center for environmental education, where children can explore the wonders of nature in the middle of the city. This 10,000-square-foot building will be another Mill River Park architectural attraction with five terraces, including a large rooftop observation deck offering the best views of Mill River Park.

Status: The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skate Center & Fountain, as well as provisions for skate lessons for underserved youth, is fully funded. Funding for the Discovery Center Building is underway. Design has been completed and building will commence once full funding has been secured.

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Projects 6–9 PROJECT 6 will extend the Park from Main Street to the old West Stamford Cemetery below Richmond Hill Avenue, extending greenway paths along both sides of the river. Status: Funding is in process, design is 60% complete.

PROJECT 7, Greenway North, will extend the greenway up to Scalzi Park. This project will include the creation of an outdoor classroom for Hart Magnet School. Status: Funding is in process, design is 60% complete.

PROJECT 8 will extend Mill River Park to Pulaski Street on the west side of the river. Status: This project involves the acquisition of new land by the City.

PROJECT 9 will extend the Greenway South along the east side of the river to connect to the Harbor Point waterfront esplanade. Status: Design is in the feasibility stage.

Some images appearing on this page are intended to be inspirational and are not actual representation of Mill River Park in its current or future state.

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Program

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Proposed Program Ideas ACTIVE RECREATION

PASSIVE RECREATION

STAMFORD EVENTS

AMENITIES & GARDENS

Bicycling

Strolling

Ice Skating Rink

Walking

Chess

Atlantic Salmon & Shad Run

Sledding

Nature Hikes

Hopscotch

Scenic Overlooks

Rollerblading

Bird-watching

Tag

Bird-feeding

Jogging

Picnicking

Kite-flying

Gardening

Zumba

Crafts

Fishing

Sunning

Ice skating

Painting

Frisbee

Drawing

Yoga

Writing

Taste of Stamford with Cooking Tutorials

Reflection

Movie Nights

Nature Discovery

Pops in the Park

Farmers’ Markets Harvest Festival Craft Fair Field Day/Arbor Day July 4th Firework & Light Festival Water Light Festival Winter Lights Festival Musical Events Easter Egg Hunt

Arts for Kids Cherry Blossom Festival

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Fountain Carousel Playground Gardens Sensory Garden Woodland Walk Wetland Trail River Overlooks & Piers Rain Gardens Sculpture Garden Playgrounds Plazas Event Spaces


Program MAIN CONCEPT To ensure the creation of a viable, active and alluring place, the Mill River Park Project focuses on three primary goals in developing the Park program: • Promoting Cultural Sustainability

RIVER ACCESS The access to the river is provided by overlooks, piers and boardwalks. As the path along the river provides a continuous flowing experience, the overlooks and piers bring more momentary experiences; each providing an individual stop for enjoying a quiet or interactive moment by the water’s edge.

• Enhancing Environmental Sustainability

PARK PROGRAM

• P  ositively Influence Economic Sustainability

Programmatic elements for the Mill River Park Project are linked to the main recreational path that extends along the course of the river. To diversify the riverfront experience, activities encountered along the primary circulation route relate to an array of opportunities and have been categorized into the following four program types:

Under these three goals, the Project seeks to create a continuous recreation path along the length of the Park with various open spaces and event areas. The connection of these activity spaces would help foster a culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable environment for the Park, the adjacent neighborhoods and the city. The diversity of program elements throughout the Park will draw people to the river and assist in unifying the communities on either side of the water.

POTENTIAL LIST OF ACTIVITIES Based on a series of public meetings held in the City of Stamford, the design team compiled a list of riverfront activities desired by the residents of Stamford. The design team also proposed program elements aimed at generating revenue for the Park and attracting year-round activities.

• Natural/Ecological • Cultural/Educational • Recreational • Experiential While some activity areas have distinct program features, there are often overlaps in use, function and intent. Some activities fall into multiple program types, as they have the capacity to serve many purposes. For example, the riparian edge has natural/ ecological features and also provides cultural/educational opportunities for daily visitors or student groups. Although not

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specifically listed as a separate program type, river access, which underlies nearly every design gesture, also plays a critical role in the programming of the Park.

NATURAL / ECOLOGICAL This program type includes elements along the restored riparian edges as well as work associated with the US Army Corps of Engineers Mill River Dam Removal and River Restoration Project. With a composition of wildflowers and meadow species, the riparian mesic drifts would help revitalize the terrestrial and aquatic habitat within the river corridor and provide opportunities for people to experience native riverfront environments.

CULTURAL / EDUCATIONAL To sustain and enhance the cultural and educational opportunities in Stamford, the design incorporates programmatic elements that would serve both as cultural activity nodes and as interpretive centers. For example, there is an opportunity to integrate the Cherry Tree Experience with a history/interpretive walk. The restored riparian floodplain edge could be utilized as a vehicle to teach children about the natural habitats that may occur within an urban setting. Additionally, a sculpture garden, an amphitheater, 9/11 Memorial, and sensory gardens are proposed within the Park as cultural amenities.

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HABITAT RESTORATION The design for the Mill River Park Project aims to restore the aquatic, terrestrial and migratory bird species within the Park. The river restoration project will open up anadromous fish passage to the upper reaches of Mill River; improve aquatic diversity within the river; and enhance overall water quality. Based on the US Army Corps of Engineers March 2004 Environmental Impact Assessment Report, several anadromous fish species that historically populated the Mill River and its tributaries include the Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and Blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis). The design will target the reestablishment of these species. Along other river reaches, restoration of the tidal marshes and tidal wetlands will introduce new habitat to the river for fish, birds and native wildlife. The development of habitat areas will also provide interpretive opportunities to the Park, making it an educational as well as natural area destination.


Existing habitat and wildlife

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Park Path Types and Materials URBAN STREETSCAPE The Urban Streetscape defines the periphery of Mill River Park and describes a uniform vocabulary for streets edges adjacent to the Park. Through the use of street trees set in stone fines pavement, street lighting, which is consistent with the current Stamford standard, and granite cobble accents along the walking surface, the Urban Streetscape becomes a more detailed variant of the typical Stamford concrete walks.

PARK WALKS While a number of walkway and pathway systems in the Mill River Park Project accommodate active recreation uses such as cycling, running and rollerblading, the Park Walks aim to create a different, more ambulatory experience for park users. Through the use of stone fines pavement, the Park Walks are located above the

Stone Plank Pavement

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100 year flood plain and bring another dimension to the walking environment as people hear the crunching of the crushed stones as they amble. This helps create a unique experience for the Cherry Tree walk, trips to the playground area and strolls through the sensory garden.

RIVER WALKS Comprised of oil and chip penetration pavement, the River Walks define a recreational path system that encourages walking, cycling, running, rollerblading and an array of other activities along the river’s edge. The material was selected to provide the feel and look of decomposed paving and to provide stability to the walkway within the areas more prone to flooding. The River Walks also act as the connective element in the Mill River Park Project, tying the different program areas together along the water.


RIVER ACCESS WATER LINKS Acting as the connecting elements between the city and the river, the River Access points provide an articulated granite walking surface that alludes to the surface of boardwalks. These paths align perpendicularly to the water’s edge and often terminate in waterfront overlooks or fishing piers. The River Access points become the metaphorical binds that will tie the people with the place, pedestrian flows with water flows.

Water Links

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BOARDWALKS Aside from stone overlooks dotting the riverbank, Boardwalks provide the most direct connection to the water. As a combination of wood, stone and metals, the Boardwalks, act as pathway linkages over open water and offer frequent visual access to the river. They also allow for a number of riverfront activities including fishing, kayaking and bird-watching.

Wooden Boardwalks

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SPECIALTY PLAZAS Specialty Plazas delineate large gathering areas and moments of interest within the Mill River Park Project. Comprised of granite pavement, the plazas mark the area around the fountain/ice rink, the entrances to the Main Street bridge and the prominent park entrance at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Main Street, among other locations.

Specialty Plaza at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Park Planting The Mill River Park planting concept blends the needs of a natural riparian corridor with the demands of an urban park. Species diversity and sustainable ecosystems are balanced with urbanity. Vegetation is used in such a way as to provide habitat maintain visibility, and provide a spatially rich and maintainable urban park. At the river’s edge, a palette of native trees, shrubs and grasses occurs. A diverse base mixture of herbaceous species provides this area with resilience during times of flooding and drought. Flood-tolerant trees such as river birch and sycamore shade the river, creating habitat for the fish and lending winter interest. One stormwater outfall and recharge area will be planted with wetland species capable of sustaining rapid rise in water level. As one moves upland from the river, mesic woodland species and mixed meadow plantings define the character of the zone that is on a slope and less frequently inundated by flooding. Soft drifts of shrubs and grasses echo the weaving patterns of the river, and bold sweeps of wildflowers highlight these forms. A canopy of maples provides color in the fall.

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Within the more programmed spaces and along the urban edge these native species recur as more “tended” gardens, employing a stronger, more simplified aesthetic. Oaks and elms are used in groves and allees. Non-natives also occur in these places, allowing for the use of “tidier” species. Non-natives also allow the use of species of cultural value, one such example being the historic cherry tree. Throughout the Park, attention is paid to the relationship between plantings and viewsheds. Vegetation is used to create viable natural habitat while at the same time framing dramatic viewpoints. Security is ensured by maintaining visual connections through planting areas. Shrubs and grasses of limited height are used adjacent to accessible areas, providing a high level of visibility. Concurrently, the planting strategy will reduce the presence of Canadian geese.


Red Maple

Arrowwood Viburnum

Blue Flag Iris millriverpark.com

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RIPARIAN FLOODPLAIN PLANTINGS

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1. River Birch 4. Winterberry 7. River Bulrush

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2. Swamp White Oak 5. Virginia Sweetspire 8. Boneset

3. Sycamore 6. Ninebark 9. Blue Flag Iris

10. Cardinal Flower


OUTFALL PLANTING

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1. Swamp Milkweed 4. Cinnamon Fern 7. Sensitive Fern

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2. Sensitive Fern 5. Monkey Flower 8. Sensitive Fern

3. White Turtlehead 6. Cinnamon Fern

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RIPARIAN MESIC PLANTINGS

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1. Red Maple 5. Indian Paintbrush 8. Silver Maple

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2. Brilliant Coneflower 6. Arrowwood Viburnum 9. Little Blue Stem

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3. Summersweet 7. Arrowwood Viburnum 10. Red Maple

4. Hardy Ageratum


URBAN PARK PLANTINGS

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1. St. John's Wort 4. New England Aster 7. Prairie Dropseed

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2. American Elm 5. Smooth Hydrangea 8. Kwanzan Cherry

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3. Summersweet 6. Feather Reed Grass 9. Wild Indigo

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Park Drainage & Utilities STORMWATER TREATMENT The major stormwater mitigation measures proposed for the Mill River Project include the relocation of the 60-inch outfall for the existing drain line that currently runs along the east side of the Mill Pond and discharges under the dam, the creation of a drainage swale for the existing outlet along the west side of the existing Mill Pond and improvements to many of the existing outfalls along the river’s edge. The existing 60-inch drain line currently extends along the east side of the Mill Pond and is incorporated in the existing wall system. The drain line extends under the center of the dam where it presently discharges. In the proposed condition the dam will be removed; the drain line will be cut back and will discharge at the side of the river through an outlet feature. The outlet will be integrated into slabs of rock

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that step from the Park to the water. The large slabs will be set in a way for water to pass through the base and discharge to the river. The outlet feature will be designed with a diversion structure that will allow the low flow storms and any base flow to discharge between the bottoms of most large slabs; higher-flow storms will pass through a 60-inch drain outlet at the downstream end of the outlet feature. On the upland side of the outlet feature will be the Park. Stormwater runoff will be generated from the grassed areas and drain directly to the river via overland flow. Proposed drainage inlets will capture runoff from low areas. These inlets will be connected to a closed drainage system that will discharge to a two-compartment stormwater quality tank. This tank will be designed to capture and treat the first inch of stormwater runoff from the Park area and remove a minimum of 80 percent of the total suspended solids prior to


discharging to the 60-inch line. The water quality tank will have a bypass to allow the higher storm events to pass through the drainage system without re-suspending trapped sediments. The existing 24-inch line at the west side of the Mill Pond will be reconfigured and a splash pool and swale will be constructed at the outlet. The splash pool and swale have been designed to provide energy dissipation and a level of treatment for the existing stormwater outfall. The catchment area that drains to the 24-inch outlet encompasses an area that is larger than can be accommodated per the regulations with a treatment swale or treatment chamber that could physically fit in the area available. Many of the existing outfalls that currently drain to the river have over time experienced some level of degradation— either the physical collapse and/or washout of the outfall, or the infill of sentiment. The project proposes the

rehabilitation of many of these outfalls. Improvements to the existing outfalls include the following: re-installation of pipe, new headwalls or flared end sections, new grading, removal of sediment and placement of riprap. The City of Stamford is also initiating a watershed-wide stormwater improvement plan that is expected to result in comprehensive treatment of stormwater runoff in catch basins at the source as it enters the underground system. The improvements proposed and described in this narrative will improve the physical structural integrity of the outfalls and the developed land that surrounds them, and are also intended to improve the quality of the stormwater runoff to the river. The improvements will allow development along the river with minimal degradation, and in some cases improvement from the current conditions.

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Park Design

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Park Design Elements The Mill River Park design is composed of an array of elements and features, with the intent of attracting a diverse population of users. Elements such as the Carousel and Ice Skating Rink are intended to draw a large audience from the surrounding region. At the same time, features such as the Playground and Great Lawn provide amenities that can be enjoyed daily by the surrounding residents. Each piece highlights a different aspect of the Park: the ecology of the river, cultural and educational elements, or opportunities for fitness and recreation. By attracting a varied user group, and engaging all seasons of the year, these elements provide the basis for a healthy and active park. Porch Riverwalk Carousel Riparian Edge Discovery Center Fountain/Ice Skating Rink Great Lawn Grand Steps

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Mill River Park: North Park Space PORCH / DINING AREA A proposed trellis structure provides a semi-enclosed space and dappled shade with seating areas for picnicing, chess and sunbathing.

CAROUSEL Inspired by more traditional carousel experiences, The Mill River Park Carousel blends the liveliness and brilliance of the carousels in Bryant Park and Central Park in New York with a more contemporary flair similar to that in Mitchell Park in Greenport, New York. The pavilion accomodates a permanent snack bar, restrooms and event space.

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CHERRY TREE EXPERIENCE The Mill River Park Project is delivering a dramatic alteration to the Cherry Tree walks. Most of the preexisting Cherry Trees were in decline and had to be removed to accomodate the river restoration work. The Park Project will reintroduce the Cherry Tree Experience. The new Cherry Trees accent walking paths within the Park, provide seating and resting opportunities and preserve newly established vistas to the River. By reinstating the Cherry Tree Experience, Mill River Park Collaborative has been able to continue the historic Stamford Cherry Tree Festivals and maintain the river’s springtime attraction.

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GRAND STEPS The Grand Steps serve as the terminus to the Great Lawn and as the major access point to the river. Moving from the edge of the fountain to the river, the stone placement of the Grand Steps matches the geometry of the Great Lawn as it approaches the river’s edge. These large platforms of granite break down into smaller and more irregular pieces as they become increasingly interspersed with the riparian floodplain plantings. Granite steps will carry visitors through this transition and supply visitors with safe, structured access to the water. In addition to providing a social function for the Park, the Grand Steps will also serve a more technical function, acting as a manifold distribution for an underground stormwater main.

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GREAT LAWN The Great Lawn stands as the most prominent space in Mill River Park and is the grand entry from the city to the waterfront. Anchored by a magnificent, dynamic fountain which transforms into an ice rink during the winter season, the Great Lawn will be capable of accommodating a myriad of uses, functions, events and activities throughout the year. These events vary from concerts and farmers’ markets in the summer to harvest festivals and ice skating festivals in the winter. This inviting and alluring space is flanked by tree-lined walks leading to the water edge and it shall be comprised, almost exclusively, of a gently sloping lawn, providing space for everything from concerts to picnicing, frisbee-tossing to kite-flying.

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FOUNTAIN / ICE SKATING RINK As the central feature of Mill River Park, the fountain/ice skating rink will play a commanding role during all seasons. In the warmer months, the fountain jets throw brilliant water arcs into the large splash area and random bursts to exhilirate young children. Visitors to the Park will be able to sit on either edge of the pool and watch the activity unfold on the Great Lawn or engage in the fountain. In the winter, the feature converts to an ice rink, attracting all levels of ice skaters and spectators. The fountain/ ice rink can also be converted to a platform where live performances and venues can overlook the water.

Comparison Studies The design team studied different sizes of skating rinks by researching several successful examples in many urban parks. The space restrictions allow for approximately 9,500 square feet, making the rink comparable in size to the facilities at Rockefeller Center. This is a minimum recommended size.

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Images appearing on this page are intended to be inspirational and are not actual representation of Mill River Park in its current or future state.

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RIPARIAN EDGE Stream Ecology Restoration design for the channel of Mill River included both traditional hydraulic analysis and a more recent approach called natural channel design (NCD) that is gaining favor among restoration professionals and oversight agencies. The NCD method of stream morphology assessment and classification was developed by Dave Rosgen (Rosgen 1996) and provides a scientifically based method for the design of stream or river restoration in any geographic area of the United States. The approach consists of four levels of assessment designed to categorize the stream to one of 41 types, allow for an evaluation of its current condition, and identify possible remedial actions. Using the Rosgen classification system, the reach of the Mill River to be restored (i.e., the restoration reach) was classified as a C-3 stream type. The C-3 stream type is a slightly entrenched, meandering, cobble-dominated channel with a well developed floodplain and a fairly low (i.e, flat) gradient. In designing the river restoration, it is desirable to create a channel that is as close as possible to that stream type’s most stable (equilibrium) condition in dimension and channel composition so as to reduce the potential for future erosion within the channel and along the stream banks. To accomplish this objective, NCD

employs the approach of identifying and measuring the characteristics of what is called a reference reach. This is typically a relatively undisturbed segment of the same river either upstream or downstream of the project area. Alternatively, a segment of a different river with an identical classification located in the same landform can be used for this purpose. Because the area downstream of the Mill River dam is tidally influenced, measurements were taken of the channel’s morphology (form) in the reach immediately upstream to better identify various dimensions (e.g., channel width, depth, and gradient) and characteritics (e.g., size of stones occurring in the channel) applicable to the restoration design. Upstream measurements were combined with flow data from both the Mill River watershed and the New England region to determine anticipated flood flows and flood elevations for a variety of design storm events. This information was then used to design the channel dimensions for the restoration reach. One of the goals of the river restoration design was to minimize the use of streambank armoring as a means of preventing bank erosion. Instead, the goal was to use bioengineering techniques wherever possible to promote bank stabilization with vegetation. The design team felt this would increase both the natural aesthetics and wildlife

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habitat value of the project. Toward this end, the project will make extensive use of livestakes, branch layering (fascines), and container grown woody vegetation installed within coconut fiber (coir) blankets and logs to provide both immediate and long-term bank stabilization. In some areas where floodplain is limited and banks will be steeper, the design incorporates the use of vegetated geogrids, permanent soil retention structures that provide a footing for vegetation establishment. An additional consideration in the channel design was that the restoration reach lies within an urban park; and although streams are naturally dynamic and tend to shift positions within their floodplains, this was not a desirable outcome within the Park setting. Therefore, the channel includes frequent use of various types of rock vane structures (e.g., cross vanes, j-hook vanes) that control both the

elevation and location of the channel, and reduce bank erosion on meander bends by forcing higher flows toward the center of the channel. The vanes also maintain the structure of pools within the channel and thus enhance habitat for aquatic biota, including fish. Lastly, several of the vanes will provide foot access to the river itself for park visitors. Superimposed on the bank stabilization techniques are a palette of floodplainadapted native plant materials, including trees, shrubs, a seed mix and herbaceous plugs.

Rippowam River Cross Vane 56

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Mill River Park: South Park Space PLAYGROUND The Playground is designed to provide a safe yet playful haven for children and parents within Mill River Park. As the first major component of the Park constructed, the Playground sets the stage to excite and inspire other future-built projects. The Playground area is designed as a simple terrace and step wall, which embraces the playground structure. This terracing serves to buffer the space from the surrounding roads while maintaining high levels of visibility both into and out of the playground. The effect from the street level is one which visually grounds the structure within the Park, softening its visual prominence. Within the Playground, step walls provide informal seating, while the terrace provides an elevated seating area from which parents can keep better watch.

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The use of granite and high quality furnishings lends a sense of permanence and sets a high standard for future construction. Crushed stone is used in the pathways to soften the extent of hardscape. The planting scheme surrounding the Playground helps to tie the space back into the riparian edge, whereas the mural wall will provide an opportunity for cultural expression. Mill River Park Playground

Mill River Park Playground

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Mill River Park Playground during construction

Mill River Park Playground during construction

Volunteers help maintain Mill River Park Playground millriverpark.com

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OVERLOOKS & PIERS

EAST ESPLANADE

Piers and Overlook structures offer visitors to Mill River Park an opportunity to see, hear and, at times, even feel the water. By providing visual and physical access to the water’s edge, the Piers and Overlooks become opportune places for fishing, birdwatching or simply sitting to enjoy the sounds of the running river.

In contrast to the informal, sinuous pathway systems on the west side of Mill River Park, the East Esplanade will follow the river along a more formal and defined alignment articulated by a low stone wall. Walkways will be lined by a repeating rhythm of trees, benches and lighting and terminated by connecting paths to the adjacent streets.

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AMPHITHEATER

HISTORIC CEMETERY & 9/11 MEMORIAL

Based on the feedback from the public meetings, the design team developed a multi-use Amphitheater where people can participate in all forms of activities from small, independent performances to poetry slam sessions. Its location on the west side of Mill River Park makes this space more accessible to the adjacent neighborhoods while maintaining proximity to downtown. The scattered trees planted within the theater will provide shade and create a calmer, more relaxed atmosphere.

The Stamford Garden Club, in collaboration with Mill River Park Collaborative, contributed 10 Princeton Elm trees in order to plant a Memorial commemoration of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The Memorial was designed to facilitate multiple phases of construction. The first phase of the project, already installed, includes the planting of the 10 trees, which allude to notions of rebirth, renewal and hope. Subsequent phases will incorporate the construction of pathways and sitting walls.

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SENSORY GARDEN In the Sensory Garden, the visitor is treated to a holistic experience with plants. Carefully selected to reveal particular sounds, sights, smells, touches and even tastes, the plant palette offers people not only a sensory experience but also a pleasing environment in which to be calm, sit or stroll.

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Sound

Light

Smell and Taste

Touch

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I-95 LIGHT FEATURE The amusing and delightful Light Feature below I-95 typifies the goals of the Mill River Park Project. By taking a dark and underutilized area and converting it to an active and vibrant space, the Light Feature, as with many other proposals for the Park, will act as the catalyst for the revitalization of the riverfront.

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Park Lighting

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Jeffrey Stevensen; design firm for Richmond Hill Avenue Bridge project: BL Companies


Park Lighting

Bridge Lighting

Lighting will play a significant role in reshaping this complex urban environment where nature runs through a northeastern metropolis. The design simultaneously promotes the aesthetic experience and natural rhythms of nighttime river life while addressing human needs of safe passage and recreation.

Seven bridges dominate the nighttime experience of this stretch of river. They cross between east and west, a fastgrowing downtown and old residential neighborhoods, the past and present, a dense metropolis and natural habitats, and between diverse inhabitants on either side. They serve as both signs and actual routes of connection between these multiplicities.

At the most fundamental level, lighting facilitates passage through and across the river park, connecting different communities on east and west banks. Path lighting provides orientation and structure and supports social interaction. Seven bridges—each with a different form and function—become opportunities for destination and display.

Each bridge will be lit in its own style, highlighting its particular history, structure and use. The repetition of light crossing the dark river each time uniquely creates a rich visual addition to the play of urban lights.

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BROAD STREET BRIDGE

Bridges

Broad Street Bridge & reference image

MAIN STREET BRIDGE

Main Street Bridge—conceptual renderings TRESSER AVENUE BRIDGE

Tresser Avenue Bridge & reference image

©JEFFREY STEVENSEN

Richmond Hill Avenue Bridge & reference image

INTERSTATE 95 BRIDGE

STATE STREET BRIDGE

Interstate 95 Bridge & reference image

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Park Programming & Events

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Park Events Today’s parks are expected to cover an ever-increasing share of operating revenues through on-site development. With allowance of limited commercial development within the site, revenue opportunities can be generated. Active programming in combination with these commercial developments can hold events that activate the Park in different times of day, throughout the year.

Spring Concert

Spring Concert 800 Spectators:

300 Seating

800 spectators: 300 Seating 500 Lawn Seating Harvest Festival Market Tents 500 Lawn 30 Seating

Harvest Festival 30 Market Tents

Winter Ice Skating 100 + / - Ice Skaters Temporary Zamboni Storage/Maintenance Shed Temporary Ticketing/Skate Rental Tent

SummerConcert 800 Spectators: Farmers' Market 50 Tables/Booths

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300 Seating 500 Lawn Seating


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Conclusion

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Conclusion Mill River Park will, upon its completion, reconnect both physically and socially the diverse urban environs of Stamford back to the river. It will create a prominent and world-class public space for all citizens to actively enjoy the natural beauty of their community and engage in recreation, amusement and contemplation. The Park will become a testament to the growth, development and success of Stamford and its vision of the future.

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Š 2014 All Rights Reserved. Photography and renderings supplied by the following individuals and companies: Lisa Barlow; BL Companies; Carousel Works; Gray Organschi Architecture; Krystal Jean-Pierre; KJ Klopstock; Olivier Kpognon; Daniel Mac Dougall; OLIN; OLIN/Will Belcher; OLIN/Sahar Coton-Hardy; Vincent Piselli; Milton Puryear; Rafeal Medina Photography; River Architects; Emily Rosenthal; Katinka de Ruiter; Jeffrey Stevenson. Book design by Dotworks: www.dotworksdesign.com


Mill River Park Collaborative 1010 Washington Boulevard Stamford, CT 06901 millriverpark.com

Profile for Nia Rhodes Jackson

The Plan for Mill River Park  

2014 Update of the Mill River Park Masterplan

The Plan for Mill River Park  

2014 Update of the Mill River Park Masterplan

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