Most Brighton residents liked what they saw when the conceptual master plan for the Mill Pond was unveiled Thursday night at a meeting attended by about 50 citizens. Neither a dollar figure nor a timetable were attached to the plan.
City Council member and program moderator Claudia Roblee says the two-hour meeting was successful in informing the public about the conceptual master plan and garnering public comment.
"I loved all the input we got and, overall, we got very positive feedback," she said after the meeting.
However, frequent City Council critic Susan Walters-Steinacker said Brighton cannot afford the expensive plan being envisioned for the Mill Pond and predicted that taxpayers would end up paying for any improvements.
Brighton resident Pat Cole, while commenting favorably toward the overall plan, asked why a community center was being proposed as the future use for city hall when the city "already has a community center."
Roblee says the master plan will not be implemented immediately, nor all at once.
"We may do part of it as finances allow at one point," she says. "I would envision it being done in sequences."
Roblee adds that a finalized master plan will be an organic document and not cast in stone.
"It can evolve over time, it may not end up being like (it is now)," she says.
The plan includes a number of amenities that the Mill Pond, and Mill Pond Park at its southern boundary, currently lack. Under the plan canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating would be allowed, with a launch site situated near what is now city hall.
A plaza would be constructed between the Mill Pond and Main Street and a veterans' memorial, already in the planning stage, would be located on the east side, next to the amphitheater. Waterfowl would be "limited" in the plaza area and "enhanced" with a feeding area farther north near the current walkway/boardwalk.
There would be a restricted area for ice skating in the winter and an open fire pit to warm up would be constructed in the plaza area. City hall would eventually become a community center with an art gallery and meeting rooms, with staff relocated elsewhere in the city.
While there currently is a grassy, sloped amphitheater on the east side of the park, under the plan a concrete, terraced amphitheater would be built with a band shell and relocated gazebo. The park would have a splash pad - an area for water play by youths with no standing water - near the Imagination Station playground.
The large clock in front of the Old Town Hall at Main and West streets would be relocated to a traffic island in the intersection. The walkway would be considered for expansion to east of Grand River, connecting with Flint Road. A traffic signal could be added on Grand River and Flint Road to accommodate crossings by walkers, in lieu of a pedestrian overpass or underpass.
Roblee predicts grants and private donations will make up the bulk of funding for any Mill Pond improvements resulting from the master plan.
"(For instance), the plaza could be partially funded by a corporation or an organization and given that name," she says.
The Brighton Downtown Development Authority will review the conceptual master plan and the input gathered from Thursday's meeting - either at its meeting on Dec. 20 or the January meeting.