Oakland Township Trustee Michael Bailey and Jason Kenyon, of Wade Trim, a third-party civil engineering firm, presented an evaluation of future goals of the mill race at the Oakland Township meeting last Tuesday night.
The mill race, which runs alongside Paint Creek, Orion Road and through several private properties, has been dry since late 2011. Kenyon and Baily have been working to restore water in the mill race and maintain flow.
The presentation begin with a short media clip of about 20 years ago when the mill wheel and mill race were thriving alongside a restaurant and cidermill.
“It brings back some good memories,” Trustee Bailey said.
From there, the presentation got more in depth with figures and graphs explaining Wade Trim’s analysis of Paint Creek and the mill race. The firm also evaluated the previous dam removal plan and established flow requirements for the mill race and the mill wheel.
The flow requirements will ensure that the mill wheel would continuously turn and take advantage of the incoming water.
Along with this research analysis, the presentation also unveiled short-term and long-term goals of restoring water flow into the mill race.
- Short term: To power the water mill continuously.
- Long term: To operate the turbine inside the mill to generate electricity.
These goals began with channel improvements to the mill race:
- Sediment removal and bank stabilization with native plantings
- Modification of two driveway culverts
- Elimination of 18-inch inlet pipe and excavation of previous channel on Nightingale property (head of Mill Race)
- Restore existing head gate/valve structure to control flow through Mill Race
Ultimately, this would progress into mill wheel restoration, restoration of control to regulate flows, and restoration of the water wheel pond. Eventually the mill wheel would become a historic landmark in the Oakland Township community.
“The key is to work through a plan that DEQ will approve.” Kenyan said during the meeting “We wanted to come back here with purpose, and that purpose is restore the mill race and mill wheel, and bring back some historical designation.
"One of the goals is to get this put back into place so that it can be so it can be put on the federal register of historic places which then opens up the potential for other historic related funding,” Kenyan added.
A motion was made by Bailey to proceed with soil analysis of remaining residents along side the mill race, research grant funding, Wade Trim to come up with a final fee and presentation plan, research permits that may be needed to obtain, and research optional funding opportunities.
The Oakland Township Board members voted unanimously to proceed with the ongoing options to restore the mill race.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Township Hall 4393 Collins Road, Rochester. For more information please visit the Oakland Township website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (248) 651-4440 for more information.
Eds. Note: The headline on this article was updated 9-19-2012.