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    New Developments In Mill River

    February 27, 2018

    a mother in shorts & white blouse running in a field with her tiny daughter in Mill River Park - The Waypointe Apartments

    Have you heard about what’s going on around the Stamford Apartments? As the Stamford Advocate recently reported, there’s some new construction in the works that you’ll likely want to take note of:

    “Last May it was a carousel; this May it will be a fountain, in the summer a playground and splash pad, and in the fall a skating rink bigger than the one at Rockefeller Center.”

    It’s all going down at Mill River Park, which means now is a perfect time to delve into the history and particulars of this Stamford gem, and talk about how all this new development will be shaking things up for the better. Read on, as we explore.

    What You Need To Know About Mill River Park

    Located along Washington Boulevard and the Rippowam River, Mill River Park is one of Stamford’s “urban green spaces,” replete with amazing scenery, diversions, and a slew of outdoor family activities. You can check out a complete history here, but the true story of the park picks up when it was officially unveiled back in 2013, a product of years of planning to revitalize an aging, crippled, and underused blight upon the city:

    “The new Mill River Park, a downtown oasis decades in the making, was officially unveiled Thursday as members of the nonprofit Mill River Collaborative gathered with city and state officials to celebrate the near-completion of the project's first phase.”

    As you no doubt picked up on, that line about a “first phase” indicates that there were other phases to follow, which is exactly what all the new development is about. The master plan for the park is set to cover some 28 acres, and will cost approximately $60 million. To date, the carousel and pavilion have been erected, and the park is already a bustling hub of activity.

    The park has been invigorated with a helping of native flora and fauna, including Connecticut wildflowers, trees, birds, bees, butterflies and more. Of particular note are the many avian species you’ll be able to view upon a visit to the park, for example, the House Finch, Black Crowned Night Heron, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, and many others.

    The birds have become one of the park’s biggest draws, and there’s even a group dedicated to the study of these urban flyers, Celebrate Urban Birds, founded in 2007 by the Cornell Lab Of Ornithology. Mill River Park is now one of their listed sites, providing the group with “valuable knowledge of how different environments will influence the location of birds in urban areas.”

    In fact, environmental education is central to the park’s mission. As such, The Collaborative has partnered “directly with Hart Magnet School to help the Mill River Park support STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning.” In furthering this goal, they’ve developed a kind of outdoor classroom and field-based curriculum aimed at teaching the younglings about the environment and helping them develop solid scientific skills.

    There are also plenty of things to do in the park beyond relaxing and taking in nature. Check out the calendar of events, and you’ll see such offerings as carriage rides, cookie-decorating sessions, and the Carousel Pavilion public hours. Which, by the way, leads to the significance of the new fountain…

    So What’s Up With That Fountain?

    This year marks the start of a “two-year project to extend the park on the west side of the river from Tresser Boulevard south to Richmond Hill Avenue.” As a part of that, the Mill River Collaborative will be creating a fountain near the Washington Boulevard side of the park, complete with water jets and a rather sizable basin. It doesn’t stop there, though, because the basin also serves a dual purpose:

    “In cold weather the fountain will be transformed into a 9,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink, set to open in the fall. It will be about 800 square feet larger than the rink at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan.”

    Pretty inspiring, and just one of the projects to come, as The Collaborative has more in store for the coming years, once they get the money they need secured:

    “The collaborative is raising funds for that and two more projects — one to create parkland out of the parcel at 1050 Washington Blvd., and another to extend the park along the river north to Scalzi Park. Ultimately the greenway will extend from Pulaski Street to Bridge Street.”

    In addition to being a fun new attraction that’s sure to bring many more to enjoying the park, the construction of the fountain highlights that the park wouldn’t be possible without the long list of supporters who have contributed to its construction. If you’d like to see the park continue to grow, you might want to consider giving back in your own way.

    Helping The Park Succeed

    Donating is a pretty straightforward way you can help out, and you can do so by becoming a member of the Mill River Park. There are various donation levels, which confer different rewards based upon the amount you pledge:

    Friend -- $25
    Supporter -- $50
    Member Family -- $75
    Patron -- $100
    Steward -- $250
    Designer -- $500
    Architect -- $1,000

    You can also “make a piece of the park yours” by donating to have your name engraved on the park’s Wall Of Honor, purchase a capstone, or give the gift of a tree to be planted for future generations to enjoy.

    Apart from money, though, you can give the park a piece of your time. They are always trying to build up their roster of volunteers, who help in supporting “public events, gardening and land care efforts, and education programs.”

    To count yourself among this group, you need only fill out a volunteer form, and be sure to return it to trent@millriverpark.org. Remember, “by lending a helping hand you are upholding a longstanding Stamford tradition of hands-on community service.”

    These New Additions Will Make The Stamford Apartments Even More Delightful

    It’s already a treat living near an area as pristine as Stamford. Now, with even more coming to beautify the city, you’ll have all the more reason to branch out from your residence, engage in the community, and enjoy the wonders that Connecticut coast has to offer.