Arlington Wellington Park / Mill Brook Municipal Vulnerability Action Grant
The long-term goal of the Mill Brook Corridor/Wellington Park Improvements project (funded through the Community Preservation Act (CPA)) is to expand recreational opportunities in the Mill Brook Corridor and provide environmental, cultural, and public health resources for the Town of Arlington. Weston & Sampson was retained to complete a corridor access feasibility study and park master plan.
Phase One of the project involved environmental improvements to Mill Brook, using CPA and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant funding, and included invasive plant removal, improved public access, increased flood storage capacity, bank stabilization, and revegetation. These improvements were aligned with Arlington’s previous MVP Community Resilience Building Workshops which had identified the Mill Brook Corridor as the town’s most vulnerable area. Regular flooding impacts businesses, residents, and vital thoroughfares, so addressing this issue was a top priority recommendation. The MVP process also identified the need for bank stabilization, protection of public utilities, and the desire for public access and connectivity to the Mill Brook.
The Phase One climate resilient design involves several strategies including: (1) accommodating flood waters from extreme precipitation by removing Japanese Knotweed and using the newly excavated area as flood storage; (2) protecting the banks of the Mill Brook Corridor with bioengineering techniques to prevent scour and erosion from impacting public utilities and infrastructure; (3) elevating boardwalks along the brook edge to facilitate maintenance and support public access improvements; (4) promote community engagement and outreach through interpretive signs on the boardwalk; and (5) plant trees and vegetation that improve the tree canopy in Arlington and provide heat mitigation.
These resiliency strategies are highly transferable, allowing Wellington Park to serve as an educational case study that can inform other resiliency projects in Arlington and neighboring communities.