A group actively cleaning up the Mill Creek describes the stream as a "diamond in the rough" and wants to encourage the communities lining it to take advantage of its economic and recreational benefits. Saturday elected officials are invited to see it by canoe.
The Mill Creek Alliance Yacht Club gave WVXU a tour Friday in advance of the Saturday event. My guide, Bernie Moller, a national canoe racing champion, paddled while I took pictures and did interviews. Moller, Bruce Koehler, Dick Brewer and Greg Bechtel, all members of the Alliance, are huge advocates of the stream and regularly make canoe trips to pick up garbage polluting the Mill Creek.
The Mill Creek, stigmatized by centuries of abuse, is showing signs of coming back to life thanks in part to stricter environmental laws and the Hamilton County Metropolitan Sewer District shutting down sewer overflows. This week the Yacht Club fished out 58 tires.
Brewer lives in Wyoming and the Mill Creek is in his backyard. "Right now there's still tires to pick up. There is pollution in there. It is improving day to day but eventually we're hoping this becomes a recreation area."
He points to an area near Menards in Evendale. "Right at this intersection (people could) put in canoes, shoot on down to one of the other communities."
We pull in at Twin Creek Preserve in Sharonville, an area that starts with rapids. Halfway into our trip we encounter a log jam. But much of the trip is tranquil and there is plenty of wildlife. Moller sees red hawks, cooper’s hawks, leatherback turtles, ducks and snakes.
According to Bechtel, "When you paddle down it you'll see the backside of a lot of things you didn't know was there, so it's just kind of a neat experience."
But there are sounds that bring you back to the urban atmosphere. There was train traffic, cars on overpasses and a cereal plant paging employees.
The Mill Creek Alliance Yacht Club invites people to experience it with them.
Saturday's event for elected officials, weather permitting, begins at the Twin Creek Preserve at 9:00 a.m. The public is invited to the Evendale Commons to learn the benefits of "Triangle Trail" developments. That's at 11:00 a.m.