Despite a setback involving the amount of a donation toward the $650,000 Mill Pond improvement project in Brighton, city planners say the project is not threatened.

At the City Council meeting last week, it was revealed that what was thought to be a $500,000 donation toward a new bandshell and amphitheater in reality is $100,000, to be given in increments over five years. Regardless, Community Development Associate Brandon Skopek tells WHMI the project is unaffected by the miscommunication and will proceed. The only problem is that due to the Planning Commission tabling the matter at its last meeting, a project that it was hoped would be undertaken this year will be delayed until the spring or fall of 2018.

At the Brighton Downtown Development Authority meeting Tuesday, the DDA discussed the planned Mill Pond upgrades, which would necessitate removal of several mature shade trees to facilitate construction of a bandshell. At its July 17 meeting, the City Planning Commission – faced with a large contingent of citizens opposed to destruction of the trees - decided to table the issue to address community concerns. The bandshell will replace the aging and inadequate Mill Pond gazebo, and will alow for a greater variety of events to be held there. Additionally, the electrical capacity will be increased. The inadequacy of electrical outlets has been a frequent complaint of bands and other groups that have performed there in the past.

On Tuesday, architect Piet Lindhout presented a modified list of recommendations to the DDA, including that the location of the bandshell be reconfigured and some amphitheater seats on the periphery be removed. However, under Lindhout’s modified plan, five mature trees would still have to be removed. Lindhout says erosion is already affecting the health of the trees and, due to the limited amount of space the city has to work with, the roots would be compromised by reorienting the bandshell. At the most, Lindhout said, one additional tree could be saved, resulting in four trees earmarked for removal.

Beth Walker of Hillcrest Drive, who is leading the effort to save the trees, says she’s happy the city is giving the project a more careful look and considering the wishes of the concerned residents. Skopek says that the DDA is hopeful the PC will take action on Lindhout’s recommendations at its next meeting, in August. (TT)