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News Oct 28, 2011 - 4:02 PM

Mill River Park's groundbreaking

By Mill River Collaborative

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STAMFORD, CT - Hundreds of children waited patiently for their turn at balloon sculpture, face-painting, glitter tattoos, and pumpkin decorating at Mill River Collaborative’s first ever It's My Park Day. The bouncy house and climbing wall were also very popular. Popular with adults were the displays and explanations by Gray Organschi, designers of several major park features, and Olin Partnership, landscape designers for Mill River Park. More than 2000 people attended It’s My Park Day. And everyone loved the band which got people moving.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the 12-acre Phase 1 of Mill River Park was a featured event at the October 15 It’s My Park Day. Speakers at Groundbreaking included Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Michael A. Pavia, Dudley Williams of GE Asset Management, Mill River Collaborative Board Chair Arthur Selkowitz, and Campaign Chair Don Brownstein. Sustaining supporters as well as major capital campaign contributors were recognized at the event.

Other presenters at It’s My Park Day were Fairgate Farm displaying its produce and members of the Stamford Tree Foundation who related the history of Junzo Nojima’s donation of the original Mill River Cherry Trees.

"The creation of Mill River Park will change the trajectory of Stamford Downtown for centuries to come," said Selkowitz. "Stamford has waited for over 100 years to have a vibrant attractive Mill River Park, and now we are breaking ground for the major area of the park." The first phase of construction will extend from Broad Street to Main Street. Expected grand opening is early 2013.

Don Brownstein, Capital Campaign Chair, said at the Groundbreaking, "We are honoring sustaining supporters and early contributors to the capital campaign because they have brought us to this watershed moment. They have recognized the value of the vision and have given it life."

Ambassador Level Sponsors for It's My Park Day were Reckson, a Division of SL Green, and RBS. Advocate Level Sponsors include Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Nestlé Waters North America, Purdue Pharma, Dotworks Design and UBS.

Mill River Park and the restoration of Mill River have been on the drawing board for Stamford twice before – in the 1860s and in 1929. Both times events intruded to prevent the city from moving forward. But in the early 1990s, the current plan began to take shape. By 2006, Olin Partnership had been retained and had completed the Master Plan for Mill River Park. In 2009, the Army Corps of Engineers undertook the restoration of natural habitat and river flow using a design jointly developed with Olin Partnership and Mill River Collaborative. Today, Mill River runs freely.

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