GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 1, 2013

Millbrook plans get upgrade, $350K boost

ROCKPORT — Millbrook Meadow and the accompanying pond and dam are not only looking better, but now officials looking to tackle infrastructure problems and deal with invasive species — have even more state money to make things even better.

The town is calling for proposals to quell some common problems in the meadow, like flooding in the winter, while also figuring out how best to handle the brook itself, as large slabs of stone leave water trickling out of the meadow.

The proposal request cites “exceedingly poor drainage, (and) unstable and collapsing waterway retaining walls,” as just some of the issues affecting the area.

The study would address those problems and others; including the invasive Japanese Knotweed which has soaked up land around the pond and near the brook.

”You can’t just throw it out with the rest of the trash,” said Sam Coulbourn, who heads the Millbrook Meadow Committee.

The invasive species has particularly deep roots and can travel well. While some say the bamboo looking plant has a hint of apple taste, Coulbourn compared it closer to celery.

Coulbourn said animals in Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo will enjoy the weed more, as more of it is set to be cut down today and will feed animals there.

Nancy Blue and Laura Hallowell head the Invasive Plant Team of the Garden Club as co-chairs and helped organize the eradication and removal of a large section of knotweed surrounding the pond.

In April, voters backed a $60,000 allocation to the Millbrook Meadow Committee, the group also received a $60,000 gift from a trust and is seeking an additional $120,000 in Community Preservation Act funding at the fall town meeting.

“We’re going to be getting input from the experts,” Coulbourn said Wednesday.

The site has gone through many changes — and funding efforts — since the dam’s destruction after the Mothers Day Storm in 2006.

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