Arlington, MA- Mill Brook and Wellington Park are getting a makeover! From January to June 2018 the Mystic River Watershed Association led a robust participatory planning and design process to improve this underutilized park and hidden waterway. The recently completed design will be on display in a new exhibit titled “A Brook Runs Through It: Arlington’s Mill Brook Over Time” at Arlington’s historic Old Schwamb Mill. The exhibit will open Saturday, September 29, 2018 and will be on view through March 2019.
The new design for Wellington Park that runs along the brook incorporates community desires for improved access and recreational opportunities, while also addressing the need to mitigate flooding due to climate impacts. The plan was funded by the Arlington Community Preservation Act, and highlights include:
Accessible trails connected with pedestrian bridges
A natural play and seating area
An elevated boardwalk with woodland wetlands that store flood water
“We want to turn Mill Brook Corridor--a hidden waterfront with limited public access--into a linear park that connects people to the water,” says Amber Christoffersen, Greenways Director. “During the design process we heard from hundreds of community members who are excited to see improvements to their local waterway.”
Building on the plan, the Town has begun work to develop and implement ecologically sensitive flood management measures in the park thanks to a state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant awarded in June.
“With climate change, the future will definitely be different, but it doesn’t have to be worse,” says Julie Wormser, Deputy Director at Mystic River Watershed Association. “The Mill Brook project is a great example of beautiful, resilient design that helps manage flooding while improving an existing park. Three cheers to the Town of Arlington for their creativity and leadership.”
Designs can be seen at the annual fall open house at Schwamb Mill on Saturday, September 29, 2018, 11a.m.–5 p.m. Details for the open house include:
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., Continuous Mill Tours, featuring OSM Wood Turner David W. Graf
2:00–3:30 p.m. Old Time Music Open Mic with Alan Kaufman
3:30–5:00 p.m. Opening Reception by the Old Schwamb Mill featuring a talk about the many ponds and mills that once sat alongside Mill Brook in Lexington and Arlington, and the brook’s presence in Arlington today.
The exhibition will be open until March 9th, 2019. You can always see the designs online and read more about this project at: MysticRiver.org/millbrook.
Below are renderings of the park from the final design. Credit: Weston & Sampson.
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About the Old Schwamb Mill: The Old Schwamb Mill is historic 19th-century mill, still in operation, at 17 Mill Lane in Arlington. The current mill building, erected in 1861, is a living history museum. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
About the Mystic River Watershed Association: The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) works to improve the lives of the more than half million residents of Mystic River communities through its efforts to protect and restore water quality, natural habitat and open space throughout the 76 square mile watershed. For more information see MysticRiver.org.
About Mystic Greenways: Mystic Greenways Initiative will connect 20 miles of paths, improve hundreds of acres of parkland and engage thousands of community members from the Mystic Lakes to the Boston Harbor. For more information see www.MysticRiver.org/greenways.