Mill River Park & Greenway Master Plan

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Master Plan for Mill River Park & Greenway in Stamford, CT. Published July, 2007

Text of Mill River Park & Greenway Master Plan

  • MILL RIVER PARK and GREENWAYThe City of Stamford Connecticut July 2007

    MASTERPLAN

  • Prepared for:

    City of Stamford

    Prepared by:

    Contributions from: Nitsch Engineering Habitat by Design Tillet Lighting ETM Associates, LLC ERA (Economic Research Associates) Pete & Company

    Date: July 2007

    MILL RIVER PARK and GREENWAYThe City of Stamford Connecticut MASTERPLAN

  • iii

    Executive Summary Introduction 2 Project Definition Client, Design Team

    Site Context 6 Geographic and Physiographic Features Urban Context Physical Connectivity Ecological Character of Connector Streets Mill River Project Boundary Adjacent Parks Significant Buildings Green Connection Future Developments (Public & Private Initiatives)

    Implementation Stages 14 US Army Corp of Engineers River Restoration Project Stage I Implementation Stage II Implementation

    Program 20 Main Concept Program Concept Potential List of Activities Habitat Restoration

    Park Program Natural / Ecological Cultural / Educational Recreational Experiential River Access

    Park Facilities

    Habitat Restoration

    Park Path Types and Facilities and Materials Park Walks River Walk River Access / Water Links Boardwalks Specialty Plazas Park Planting

    Park Drainage & Utilities

    Park Design 52 Mill River Park North Park Space Porch / Dining Area Carousel Cherry Trees Great Lawn Fountain / Ice Skating Rink Grand Steps Riparian Edge Main Street Bridge Sculpture Garden

    Mill River Park South Park Space Playground Outlooks & Piers East Esplanade Amphitheater Basketball Court Historic Cemetery & 9/11 Memorial Kayak Area Sensory Garden Butterfly Garden Scent Garden I-95 Light Feature Gateway Markers Kayak Area & Maintenance

    Park Lighting 102

    Park Programming & Events 118 Programs Events Appendix I Maintenance Report by ETM Associates, LLC Operations and Maitenance Financing by ETM Associates, LLC

    Appendix II Cost Estimate by Pete and Company

    Mill River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

  • INTRODUCTION

  • Project Definition

    Located along the lower reaches of the Rippowam River in southwestern Connecticut, the Mill River Park and Greenway Project aims to bring an active, vibrant and verdant environment to Stamfords 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 and Greenway Project will, once again, make the river a prominent, alluring and accessible place within downtown Stamford.

    The historical context for the Mill River Park and Greenway project reaches back to the hur-ricane and flood of 1955, and the major losses of property that resulted. Following subsequent floods, a series of studies were commissioned by the City and the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce flood risk along the Mill River. A primary objective has been the removal of residen-tial dwellings from the flood plain. Thse objectives were complementary to an even longer standing vison for a park and greenway along the river. The containment of the flood waters within open space along the river and the creation of a central park to complement the dra-matic growth of Stamfords downtown office market merged to support the goal of creating a worldclass Mill River Park. The prposed expansion of the existing, little used, Mill River Park from six to twentysix acres became the centerpiece of the Sasaki & Associates Mill River Corridor plan commissioned by the Urban Redevelopment Commission in 1998 that led to the creation of the Mill River Corridor redevelopment district. Subsequently, the convergence of strong support from Mayor Dennel P. Malloy, the opportunity to restore the river through the Army Corps of Engineers Section 260 Habitat Restoration Program and the creation of the Mill River Collaborative, the City hired the design team led by Olin Partnership to develop the vision for the park to a Master Design Plan and to coordinate with the Army Corps of Engineers and the City in the development of detail plans for the restoration of the river and the creation of Mill River Park.

    2

    Mil l River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

    Mill River Park Aerial View of Existing Conditions April 1998

  • 3Mil l River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

    Mill River Park Design

    Client

    City of Stamford

    Mill River Collaborative

    Design Team

    Olin Partnership Landscape Architecture and Urban Design

    Nitsch Engineering Civil Engineering

    Tillett Lighting Design Lighting Design

    Buro Happold Structural Engineering

    Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting

    ETM Associates Maintenance Consulting

    Habitat by Design Restoration Ecology

    Pete and Company Cost Estimating

  • SITE CONTEXT

  • 6Mil l River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

    Geographic and Physiographic Features

    The Mill River Park and Greenway Project lies nestled in a diverse geologic area within the Rippowam River basin. Located in Fennemans (1938) New England Upland section of the New England Province, the project areas topography is characterized by gently to 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 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 Stamfords 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

    Centrally located within downtown Stamford, the Mill River Park and Greenway Project acts as an urban connector, linking the city to the park and many of the Citys major parks and recreational areas through the use of accessible walkways and cycling path-ways. 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 Project becomes an integral segment of a broader regional trailway system.

    Ecological

    In addition to creating physical connections for residents and visitors, the City of Stamford is also dedicated to expanding and enhancing the Mill River corridor as a wildlife passageway and urban green space connector3. With the restoration of the river edge, the Mill River Park and Greenway Project will support a host of native flora and fauna and create a rich, ecologically diverse condition that attracts and accommodates seasonal migration patterns.

    1 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.

    2 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.

    3Mill 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.

    USGA satellite image

    Force Lines

  • 7Mil l River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

    Existing Character of Mill River Park Park Mill River Park and Adjacent Parks shown with Future Planned Connections

    Scalzi Park

    Woodland Cemetery

    Kosciuszko Park

  • 8Mil l River Park and Greenway The City of Stamford, CT.

    Character of Connector Streets

    The existing streets running along and through the Project area exhibit a range of scales and uses. From tree-lined roads in dense residential areas to broad arterial streets in business districts, the character of these roadway edges are frequently inconsistent and fractured by disparate development parcels. The building forms also vary considerably along the roadways, resulting in constantly differing relationships between building face and street and walkway edge. The Mill River Park and Greenway Project seeks to create a uniform street identity by developing a consistent pattern of materials and urban street trees around the project area. This will produce a more appealing walking environment and foster greater civic pride for the Project.

    Mill River

    Project Boundary

    The Mill River Park and Greenway Project area encompasses nearly 3/4 of a mile of public riverfront parkland and accounts for a contiguous urban open space of 28 acres. While the Project provides walking extensions to surrounding areas, the predominant portion of the Project is contained to the north by Broad Street and to the south by Pulaski Street. Greenwich Street and Mill River Street define t