Plymouth’s River Corridor Study Earns Planning Award

Posted on 09/28/2016 10:01 AM

The City of Plymouth, Wisconsin now has an award-winning blueprint for development of the critical Mullet River Corridor, including the future of the Mill Pond, a 41-acre impoundment of the Mullet River. MSA worked with the City to develop a corridor study.

The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-WI) recently presented an award to the City and MSA for the Mullet River Corridor Study. Planners from Michigan and Minnesota selected the project as a winner in the Plan Document category.

“The Mullet River Corridor Study takes a holistic approach in addressing the future relationship that the City of Plymouth will have with the Mullet River. The plan is well written and can be easily understood by those without a planning background,” one juror said.

This plan, adopted by the City in November 2015, studies the Mullet River corridor in the City from STH 23, through Downtown, to CTH PP, as an aesthetic, recreational and economic amenity that affects or is enjoyed by all Plymouth residents and visitors. 

The project considers various projects and improvements that may enhance the use and health of this valuable community resource.

Accepting the planning award, from left to right, are Andrew Bremer, AICP, MSA; Brian Yerges, Plymouth City Administrator/Utilities Manager; and Stephen Tremlett, AICP, CNU, MSA.

Other Communities Consider Aging Dams

Many communities face the same issues as Plymouth. They were founded along rivers which were dammed for business or electrical needs. This resulted in the creation of small shallow water impoundments similar to Plymouth’s Mill Pond. The business and electrical needs, which originally required damming these rivers, has long since passed. However, the dams have remained. 

Eventually these structures require repair, often at significant expense. Over time, the water quality of the impoundments created by the dams has eroded due to sediment build-up and algae blooms.

Communities must consider whether they should invest public money to restore a dam and dredge a pond which has existed since the community’s founding or remove the dam and return the river to its pre-settlement condition.

MSA Project Manager Andrew Bremer, AICP, said, “Decisions regarding dams have social, environmental, land use and economic considerations. The process of bringing together various community stakeholders to study these options well in advance of State-imposed deadlines for dam repair can and should be replicated in other communities in Wisconsin.”

Mill Pond Alternatives

Phase One of the Mullet River Corridor Study looked at two alternatives for the future of Mill Pond: Removal of the pond or improvements to the dam and removal of sediment in some way to improve the pond. The study’s analysis include the following: Review of existing plans and studies of the Mill Pond and Dam; Provision of conceptural illustrations for each alternative; Study of potential property impacts; Evaluation of cost estiamtes for dam and sediment removal.·              

Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails

Phase Two evaluates alternatives for a connected system of bicycle and pedestrian trails along the Mullet River. The City currently has a network of on- and off-street bicycle routes and trails, some of which have been branded as the “Plymouth River Trail.” 

The purpose of this phase was to evaluate the existing trail and to identify gaps in infrastructure and signage and to identify short- and long-term improvement projects to bring the entire trail off-street to improve the user experience and safety.

Downtown Improvements

Phase Three evaluates the costs and benefits of implementing a number of infrastructure improvements projects along Mullet River in the downtown. They included evaluating improvements to existing retaining walls and pedestrian bridges; studying the feasibility of burying overhead utility lines; evaluating removal of a public parking ramp; and improvements to Stayer Park.

For more information about corridor studies, contact Andrew Bremer. 


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