MILFORD — Surveying the latest progress on the Mispillion Riverwalk, Gary Emory, Milford Parks & Recreation director, calls this piece “the crown jewel.”
He should know.
Nearly all of has 30-plus-year career has been focused on the creation, in phases, of the Riverwalk along the Mispillion River.
Phase 22, the Wilmont-Chaney section runs east from Memorial Park on the south banks of the Mispillion River toward Goat Island.
The $380,000 project was partially funded through the Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund, grants from state legislators plus funds matched by the city.
Mr. Emory says he’s most frequently asked, “How do you get there?”
Currently, people can walk from Memorial Park along Calvary United Methodist Church’s parking lot, turn left on Columbia Street and walk to the paved walkway.
There is also a small parking area at the northern end of Marshall Street.
The Riverwalk and city parks are open from dawn to dusk only; police officers will be monitoring the area.
In the near future, the city will upgrade Columbia Street and build new sidewalks which will make this portion of the Riverwalk even more accessible.
“The connection will happen,” Mr. Emory said.
The newest section of the Riverwalk is more than 1,000 feet long, and the winding walk falls the curve of the river which widens at this point.
Part of the banks have been sodded, while others have been seeded.
“They started in October and were able to work all winter. There was no down time due to the weather. It was awesome,” Mr. Emory said.
While Canada geese swim in the river, Mr. Emory put a nylon line with orange ribbons at the riverbank to keep the geese out of the newly planted seed.
“Those flags take away their escape route, and so far, it works,” he said.
One of the features of this portion of the Riverwalk is a 30-foot long floating dock that is handicapped accessible.
“That provides access for ecotourism, not just kayaks but also pontoon boats if they do that. ‘Eco” is ecology and economy,” Mr. Emory said.
Included in the design by Landscape Architects are security lighting, benches and a bicycle rack as well.
This section will be dedicated on Oct. 13 at a Paddle/Pedal Festival and 10K Run.
Meanwhile, Mr. Emory is looking toward the future and nearby Goat Island. Six firms are vying for the design of the $1 million project.
“It’s a great setting. We’d like to have a nature center and an arboretum,” he said.
“It’s beautiful, the meandering Mispillion. This has been a very rewarding project.”