Two Franklin projects win CRDC grants
Downtown revitalization is goal of Mill City Park, PermaCityLife
Marty Parichand, executive director of Mill City Park at Franklin Falls, which he hopes will be the site of New England’s first whitewater park.
The Capital Regional Development Council, recently awarded a total of $10,000 to two separate initiatives aimed at reviving downtown Franklin.
Through its Community Grant Program, CRDC awarded Mill City Park at Franklin Falls $5,000 to help fund the development of a master plan for 9.32 acres of land surrounding the Winnipesaukee River that would the park, which is part of a larger development project in the city that involves creation of New England’s first whitewater park.
Initial plans for Mill City Park include a community garden, event space, picnic area, historic mill run trail, interconnection to the Winnipesaukee River Trail, mountain bike pump track system and an eco-village area. The Mill City Park Master Plan is expected to take three months, said Marty Parichand, executive director of Mill City Park at Franklin Falls.
“A portion of the park already exists, but the way it is now, it’s not very welcoming,” said Parichand. “Our goal is to make Franklin a destination spot for not only outdoor enthusiasts through the waterpark and adjacent biking trails but to also revitalize the downtown.”
The second $5,000 grant was awarded to PermaCityLife, a Franklin nonprofit that owns seven downtown block buildings and is also working to revitalize the city’s downtown.
Grant funding through CRDC will help support its condo conversion plan with the goal of converting three mill buildings into eight commercial and five residential units. The condo conversion plan is expected to deliver prepared site plans and surveys, legal documents required by the Franklin Planning Board for approval.
The Franklin grants weren’t the only ones awarded through CRDC’s Community Grant Program, which funded five additional projects in Merrimack, Sullivan and Hillsborough Counties with a total of $26,230 in grants.
• Funds for Sullivan County to explore the feasibility of cheese and mushroom production at a root cellar located on the county farm
• An economic development survey for the town of Amherst that will focus on short- and long-term economic development goals
• Funding to help with architecture design plans for a new facility for the West Claremont Center for Music & the Arts
• A grant for the Merrimack County Conservation District to help support the purchase of a freezer/refrigeration unit for their Capital Area Local Food Initiative
• Funding to support operations at the Manchester Makerspace.
"The primary focus of CRDC’s Community Grant Program is to support projects and programs that lead to job creation/retention and enhance a community's tax base while providing a public benefit," said Chris Wellington, CRDC's project management officer.