FARMINGTON – The Walton’s Mill Park Project is underway with the dam removal phase of the work completed. The demolition work began by E.L. Vining’s crew on July 21 and in an efficient sequence, the primary spillway was removed in less than week and fully removed by July 26. The face of the dam was dry stacked stone and was capped with concrete. Under the concrete cap was a gravel and stone fill on top of ledge. Only the dam material was removed to expose the natural ledge outcrop.
Temple stream is now flowing freely through Walton’s Mill for the first time in over 240 years and a waterfall has emerged. The stacked stone and granite pieces that were removed are stockpiled onsite to be reused along the shoreline and in the park. The next phase will be to remove the undermined training wall, restore the stream bank, and stabilize the historic overlook.
To view the progress of the dam removal and construction along the overlook, click this link of time lapse photos. The website will be updated daily with current progress.
Concurrently, the structural support for the pavilion is also underway with the piers being poured by Haley Concrete. The 41 by 21 foot pavilion is planned to be erected by the end of August and will hold 6 picnic tables. The remaining park improvements include a new restroom, interpretive overlook with signage, trails and landscaping with 30 trees and over a thousand shrubs.
In 2018, voters in the Town of Farmington approved the plans for the dam removal and park improvement work in partnership with Atlantic Salmon Federation. The replacement of two road-stream crossings along Clover Mill Road were also part of the overall proposal and those projects were completed over the last two years. Overall, the investment of over $3.2 million dollars will revitalize the park for the Farmington community and restore the natural ecology of Temple Stream for the benefit of numerous native fish and wildlife species, including Atlantic salmon and brook trout.
The new washroom and pavilion structure that will be constructed at the Walton’s Mill Park will provide opportunity for community gathering and recreation. The historic overlook will be stabilized, and new safety railings will be installed. The project will construct new rock stairs for streamside access, renovate the parking lot and entrance, and improve stormwater drainage. New areas of functional greenspace will be created that can host a variety of programs. The improved pathways will be lighted and will provide universal access from the parking lot to the new scenic overlook, washroom, and pavilion. Persons with disabilities will be able to view the stream and woods from the overlook, utilize the ADA-compliant washroom facilities, and be able to eat and rest at the ADA-compliant picnic tables in the pavilion. Interpretive signage will be installed depicting both the history and ecological significance of the site and Temple Stream.
The contract for construction of the Walton’s Mill Park Project was awarded to H.E. Callahan, an Auburn-based firm, along with subcontracts to E.L. Vining, Adrenaline Electric, and Lakeside Landscape. The lead project engineer is Acadia Civil Works, and the lead landscape architect is David Maynes Studios. Technical design expertise and consulting is also provided by Northeast Archaeology Research Center, Wright-Pierce, Casco Bay Engineering, Trillium Engineering Group, and Field Geology Services. The construction and design team are all based in Maine.
From now until construction completion, there will be no public access to the park, river, or parking lot around the active construction area due to the safety hazards. Project completion is projected for November, near Thanksgiving. A public dedication ceremony will be held in 2023.
The many project partners include the Town of Farmington, Atlantic Salmon Federation, NOAA Restoration Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Farmington Water Department, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. Funding support has also been provided by the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, Trout & Salmon Foundation, Cascade Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and several other private foundations.
Maranda Nemeth will be the on-site Project Manager from Atlantic Salmon Federation. Project updates will be provided to the Town Select Board and posted on the Town website throughout the duration of the project. For more information, contact the Atlantic Salmon Federation at <firstname.lastname@example.org>