Four years of planning and patience paid off for the Village of Dexter on Saturday.
Mill Creek Park, a 1.4-acre public park located in the heart of the downtown business district, officially opened to the public during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Dexter Daze.
"This has been a shared vision that started more than four years ago," village president Shawn Keough said. "The community really came together to create this beautiful park. I want to thank our Parks Commission, the Planning Commission, our tree board, our Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee, village council, and the village staff that has helped implement this project.
"It has been a fun partnership when you think back to all the entities that have gotten involved."
The project cost $1.24 million and includes an amphitheater, boardwalk, two boat launches, two observation and fishing decks and benches.
To create the park, the dam in Mill Creek was removed. Some restoration was done to the creek and rock control structures were installed. Most of the money for the project came from grant funding. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provided $450,000, the Waterways Infrastructure Program gave $50,000, Washtenaw County assisted with $200,000 in funding, and DTE provided $4,000.
Allison Bishop, community development director, said a second phase of the park's construction will probably begin within the next five years.
"I'm excited to see this vision from the last four years come to fruition," Bishop said. "I feel very proud to be a part of the project. I have no idea what the economic impact the park will have on the community, but I imagine it will be pretty large."
Courtney Nicholls, assistant village manager, said a path is under construction to connect to Mill Creek Park.