Milford officials unveil city's newest park

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Members and supporters of the MillStone Park Project Committee come together during Pioneer Days weekend to commemorate Milford's newest park. Project organizers hope the project will be ready for a grand opening during the 2019 edition of Pioneer Days weekend.
Photo by Russ Mitchell

Milford officials and business leaders took a moment away from the hustle and bustle of Pioneer Days to let the idea of a park capture their imaginations.

And — a year from now — they hope Milford guests take a moment to slow down once that park becomes a reality.

The MillStone Park dedication on Saturday, July 28, launches a yearlong effort to develop a memorable stopping point in the heart of Milford. The park will be located at the intersection of Highway 71 (Okoboji Avenue) and county road A34 near St. Joseph Catholic Church. Mayor Steve Anderson said planners want MillStone Park's centerpiece monument "to serve as a gateway to the Iowa Great Lakes while telling a story of Milford’s origins as the home of several water-driven mills."

"The piece is designed to provide multiple viewing experiences including a large-scale impact as people drive by on their way to the Iowa Great Lakes," Anderson told the Pioneer Days audience at the dedication.

The stopping point is planned to offer a more intimate experience as visitors and Milford residents walk or ride their bikes and stop at the site to explore and sit within the art piece.

"The shapes, shadows and details will constantly shift, change and reveal themselves as you experience it from different viewpoints," the mayor said. "The piece also represents a place in time. It will pay homage to our past. It will connect to the present and reach out to the future. It will include four time capsules — one that will be opened every 25 years. The character and quality of the art experience will also shift throughout the years as the wheel structure casts different shadow patterns according to the seasons."

Anderson said the design of the main shelter-like structure of the art piece was inspired by the water wheel from the sawmills, built in 1869, from which Milford would eventually get its name. Digital mapping and laser projectors create an illusion of water and are intended to be a playful and interactive experience.

"We hope visitors that are driving by will be intrigued enough by the art piece that they will stop and enjoy some of the details that the park and public art piece will offer to both Milford residents and our visitors," Anderson said. "The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2019, for Pioneer Days, so a year from now. It was designed By TJ Moberg and Dennis Reynolds. This public art piece will be constructed of Douglas fir, steel, bluestone and concrete."

The mayor thanked the committee that worked on the project: Tim Kinnetz, Marc Steffes, Dennis Reynolds, TJ Moberg, 2017 OHS J-Term students, Kerrie Baish, Emily Schaffer, Adam Van Gorp, BJ Ferguson and LeAnn Reinsbach.

"In addition, we would like to thank Tim Kinnetz and the Imagine Iowa Great Lakes beautification group for the donation of this beautiful monument," he said.

The MillStone Park committee is asking for the public's input to name the monument through a Facebook contest. The group is also looking for time capsule donations.

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