Yarmouth’s Baxter Mill Restoration Project on Track for Fall Completion

WEST YARMOUTH – Crews in West Yarmouth have been hard at work over the past few months to restore the historic Mill Pond/Baxter Mill on Route 28.

The goal for the project is to reinforce the existing dam, improve natural ecosystem movement, and make the site a viable mill and tourist attraction once again.

“We are moving very well, we have not had any delays thus far,” says Karl Von Hone, Director of the Yarmouth Dept. of Natural Resources.

“We have installed a coffer dam at the site and [we are also] preparing to de-water that area so they can get started on re-enforcing the bank along the top of the dam,” he said.

The $1.5 million project is being paid for with $1.1 million from the Community Preservation Act fund and the remaining $400,000 being taken from a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant designed to help local farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners conserve natural stability.

The restoration will also include a new fish ladder that would allow for easier movement of spawning herring, alewives and American eels into, and out of the pond.

The only concern that has arisen regarding the project has been the stability of the existing swan population as a result of the construction.

The town said the birds should not be affected during the restoration, and that precautions are being taken to ensure a smooth transition.

“We are keeping a water level behind the coffer damn adequate for the wading birds and swans to continue to forage for food,” said Von Hone.

The Baxter Grist Mill dates to 1710 on the site. The mill stayed in the Baxter family until 1860, then passed to a series of owners and eventually became town property.

In 2017, Yarmouth town meeting voters approved the funding for the latest restoration, which should take until this coming fall to complete.

By, JOHN BONDAREK, CapeCod.Com News Center

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