Dexter's Mill Creek Park rises on banks of Mill Creek

The lay of the land at the newly approved Mill Creek Park project is rapidly unfolding with the Dexter Village Council's recent approval of the project's site plan. Approval from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is expected shortly.

"The village has been talking for probably 20 years about taking the [Mill Creek] dam out and making the reclaimed property into a park, so it's just the final steps in the vision that the village has had for at least a decade," says Allison Bishop, community development manager for the village of Dexter. The dam was removed in 2008.

The Mill Creek Park project, located south of the Main Street bridge and just west of the downtown along Mill Creek, is expected to cost in the range of $950,000 to $1.1 million, Bishop says.

The park's physical features include a circular trail network (it will spur off of
Washtenaw County's Border to Border Trail), boardwalks, a fishing and observation dock and non-motorized boat and canoe and kayak put-ins and take-outs above and below the Main Street Bridge, wetland enhancement areas, an amphitheater with natural stone outcroppings for seating, expanses of lawn, and enhancements to stormwater outlets currently on the site.

The project is funded by a $450,000 Natural Resources Trust Fund allocation, along with a $50,000 grant from the Waterways Infrastructure Program to aid in the boating access portion, Bishop says.

"We're doing a lot of the stream restoration so hopefully we can help stabilize the stream that's ever-changing because of the dam removal," she adds. The balance comes from a mix of county Border to Border Trail and village general funds and other restricted park funds.

The village is planning to put the project out for bids this month, Bishop says, and to start construction by May.

Allison Bishop, community development manager for the village of Dexter
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar

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