Reinventing Malletts Creek
Start at Mary Beth Doyle Park on the city's southeast side. Enter from Birch Hollow Drive and you'll see a twelve-acre wetland with a vast retention basin in its center. Today, ducks are playing in Malletts Creek as it runs below banks covered by milkweed and bulrushes. After a heavy rain, though, the basin fills to the brim, creating a seven-foot-deep pond that holds fifteen million gallons of water for slow release downstream. To the north, at County Farm Park on Washtenaw, rolling meadows dotted with trees slope gently down to water channels and retention ponds.
These and other changes to the watershed cost federal, state, and local governments $7.4 million--but there was another, even greater, cost no one anticipated. That price is engraved on a plaque fixed to a boulder on the bank above Malletts Creek:
"In remembrance of Wayne Mead: This beautifully restored stream and native prairie are testament to Mr. Wayne Mead's daily standard of excellence and are dedicated to those who labor to protect our natural resources."
A foreman in the family business, Mead Brothers Excavating, Mead was killed in a heavy machinery accident on the County Farm work site on December 20, 2011. He left behind a wife, three children, and four grandchildren.