Thursday, February 19, 2015

Campaign to Restore our Meadow

A future for Rockport’s
Green Jewel…

The Campaign to Restore

            For two years, a group of people in Rockport have been on a campaign to save what they call “Rockport’s Green Jewel”. 
            Millbrook Meadow and Mill Pond, a beautiful four-acre spot right in the middle of Town, is badly in need of restoration.
            When the Town finally got a new dam to replace the one that blew out in a violent rain storm six years earlier, a few people started to see the clues.  The beautiful Meadow and Pond were slowly slipping away.
            The Pond had become filled with sediment over the years and now it was so shallow that cattails were starting to fill it, and fish could no longer live in the shallow water.
            The willows were losing huge boughs, and had reached the end of their lives. And the Mill Brook was often flooding its banks and turning the Meadow into a muddy, sloshy mess.
            Millbrook Meadow Committee began a campaign to restore this precious parkland.  With money from Lura Hall Phillips, a fund left in trust specifically for the Meadow, they began.  Town Meeting voted more money, and then the people of Rockport voted an additional amount from Community Preservation funds. 
            Working with the Department of Public Works, they hired a contractor, and began the long process to restore the Meadow and Pond.
            Now, the contractor’s engineers and scientists have poked and prodded, tested and sampled, to find out just what was needed to bring the park back to vibrant life.  They have prepared a Master Plan which describes the many tasks that will restore the park, and now they are at work on the actual design to do the work.
            The actual restoration of the Meadow and Pond is planned to begin next year, if the Town can raise the money for the work.
            Millbrook Meadow Conservancy, a sister organization formed to look after the Meadow and to raise funds, began a fund drive last fall, and so far have raised over $26,000.  
            Now a local donor who prefers to remain anonymous has offered a dollar-for-dollar challenge match of up to $25,000 for all new donations received between March 1 and September 8, when Rockport Town Meeting will vote on appropriating vitally-needed Community Preservation funds for the Meadow project.
            If donors respond generously to the challenge, the Conservancy will raise an additional $50,000 toward the total project cost, which is now estimated to be just under $1,300,000.

The Master Plan for the Meadow and Pond

            This restoration will include dredging the Pond and rebuilding the granite edges.

Mill Brook will be widened with more of a sinuous path through Meadow.

            It will call for rebuilding the Mill Brook, making it wider, and making it bend, so that it won’t flood so often, and will be friendlier to eels, fish, frogs, turtles and aquatic plants.

            It will improve the drainage in the Meadow, build in rain gardens to trap runoff.   It will remove the alien invasive plants and plant new, native species.

            It will plant new trees. A gently sinuous path along the side of the Meadow will be built, with low-level lighting and water for watering gardens.

            It will build a skater’s plaza for ice skaters to use when they skate on the Pond.

            In order for people to explore the forested parts of the Pond, and look at the wildlife in the wetlands, there’ll be a path on both sides, and a wooden walkway between them.
            There’ll be a new play area for children, and the Frog Pond will be dredged and rebuilt.
There will be new plantings around the Frog Pond that make it into a quiet place to enjoy nature.

            For more information about the plans for the Meadow and Pond, or to donate, visit  or contact any member of the Conservancy or Millbrook Meadow Committee. 

A boardwalk will allow visitors to explore the wetlands at the head of the Pond

Contact: Samuel W. Coulbourn, Chair, Millbrook Meadow Committee, 978-546-7138

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