Having green space and outdoor areas to take our children to play is more important now than ever. An exciting expansion project is underway at Mill River Park! It will create a larger space for families to enjoy both outdoors and indoors all year long!
We had the chance to speak to Nia Rhodes Jackson, Director of Visitor Experience with Mill River Park (and Stamford mom of four) about the project and what it means for local families, particularly as a result of the pandemic, when Nia says the park became a happy place for countless people.
“We hope to continue to show our dedication to children and health play. Give every opportunity to connect the community to green space and open space,” explains Nia.
“This was crucial in the urban core when COVID-19 hit. So many people sat on rocks on the river, in nature. So, we are trying to bring as many people to the park as possible,” she continues.
According to its website, the vision for Mill River Park is to create a 32 acre green space running from Bridge Street to Stamford Harbor. Over the next 10 years, Mill River Park Collaborative in partnership with the City of Stamford will undertake multiple capital projects to make this vision a reality.
A ground breaking in September launched Phase 2 of expansion. This involves expanding Mill River Park from Tresser Boulevard to Richmond Hill Avenue. This is considered the Middle Corridor of the park. Nia says this is a big step in efforts to extend Mill River Park south to Long Island Sound. This part of the project involves removing trees that are dead and in poor condition, grading and reinforcing the riverbank to create new pathways, benches and a horseshoe pit. Pia says the hope is that the horseshoe pit will be ready for Summer 2021.
In a few weeks, Mill River Park will also break ground on the Whittingham Discovery Center. The visitor and environmental education center will feature an interactive exhibit with touch tanks that will interpret the social and natural history of the Mill River, the importance of caring for natural resources – and the effects of climate change. The building will also have classrooms, a café, and an amphitheater. Nia say the Whittingham Discovery Center is expected to be complete for the 2022 school year.
In addition, this latest phase of expansion involves renovating the playground and creating a much anticipated on-demand water feature for kids to play in! It will be zero entry and will have buttons so that you can turn the water on when you want to play! This is expected to be complete for Summer 2021.
Nia says the most exciting thing about the project is the impact it will have on the community because, “Good public spaces allow you to connect to your community,” she explains.
Nia also noted that the carousel has re-opened on weekends and the outdoor skating center will open on November 14!
Renderings c/o www.millriverpark.org