History of Mill River Park

The History of Mill River Park

For nearly a century, Stamford dreamed of a Central Park in the heart of its downtown. Two decades ago, the collaborative efforts of government, corporations, foundations and private citizens began turning that dream into a reality. Today, Mill River Park continues to evolve as a vibrant, welcoming space where the community can gather to relax, play, learn and connect with nature.

  • 1998


    Preliminary Study

    Sasaki Associates conducts a study that results in the Mill River Corridor Plan to reclaim 26 acres of green space in downtown Stamford.

  • 2000


    Permit Approval

    The Army Corps of Engineers endorses the removal of the Mill River Dam to restore wetland habitat and improve public access to the river.

  • 2001


    Land Use Approval

    The Mill River Corridor redevelopment district is formed, paving the way for changes in land use both preserve green space and foster economic development.

  • 2003


    Collaborative Founded

    Mill River Park Collaborative is founded as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to lead the creation, growth and operations of the new park.

  • 2005


    Design Begins

    Olin Partnership, a top landscaping firm, is selected to design Mill River Park using the latest advances in bioengineering.

  • 2006


    Playground Built

    The Mill River Playground, designed by Olin Partnership and Leathers & Associates, is constructed by volunteers in a 7-day community build.

  • 2009


    River Restored

    The Mill River Dam Removal Project is completed, restoring the river bed and riparian edges and reducing the city’s 100-year flood elevations.

  • 2013


    Park Opens

    Mill River Park & Greenway opens with 12 acres of beautiful landscape, including the largest cherry tree grove in New England.

  • 2017


    Carousel Built

    The David & Marian Nissen Carousel and Brownstein / Selkowitz Carousel Pavilion opens, winning awards for innovative design.

  • 2018


    New Fountain & Skating Center

    The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center & Fountain opens as an all-season park feature, introducing Stamford to a new outdoor community ice rink.

  • 2022


    Discovery Center Opens

    The Whittingham Discovery Center opens as a permanent year-round environmental education facility and visitor center.