Dwight Lydell Park has one of the most interesting backgrounds of our County parks, with a history over the past century or more including tanneries, fish hatcheries, saw and grist mills and major floods. Today, the most visual evidence of this early industry are the concrete walls and banks along Mill Creek, which were mostly installed around the turn of the 20th century to facilitate water management for fish hatcheries.
These walls are now in very poor condition. By channelizing the stream, they increase flood risks, degrade the quality of the stream habitat, and prevent park visitors from accessing and enjoying the stream environment. In short, it's finally time for the walls to go!
Removing the walls and restoring Mill Creek to a more natural state will be completed in phases over several years. There are a lot of steps involved and we need to raise funds for each phase as we go. When the work is done, Mill Creek will be a highlight of the renewed Dwight Lydell Park with greatly improved access for park visitors, better flood control and a much more vibrant and diverse aquatic habitat.
So you'll know what to expect, major phases of the project are described below. To read more on the history of the park area, be sure to visit the informative page provided by the Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority!Relocate Maintenance Facility
The park's old maintenance building (shown to the right) was on the edge of Mill Creek and in center of the park's main recreation path. Because we will be removing the concrete walls around the creek and creating a wider, more natural creek valley, the building needed to be removed. Also, the building itself wasn't well-suited to its current use and was in frequent need of repair due to its age. The new maintenance building has been constructed across the railroad tracks in a less used area of the park and the old building was removed.
Parking was reconfigured to improve convenience for visitors and eliminate issues like ponding water. The overflow lot across the railroad tracks was removed and the main lot by the ponds (shown to the right) were torn out and reconstructed. Upon completion, the new lot now accommodates twice as many cars, providing easier and safer access to the picnic shelters, ponds and trails. This project also reconfigured some of the trails near the ponds, to help prepare for the major work to be done along Mill Creek.
Start date to be determined by available funding
All the work in the park is building toward the major undertaking of removing the concrete walls and embankments along Mill Creek and restoring the creek to a more natural condition. This will help slow water flow during flood events, provide improved habitat along the stream and in the water, eliminate the threat of the crumbling walls, and significantly improve public access to the creek area. For a better idea of the scope of the work, why it's needed and what will change, take a look at the attached collection of photos and plans. We will provide updates as funding is secured and a more solid timeline is available.