Andy Raynor Dover
The old adage says that “a rising tide floats all boats.”
In the City of Franklin, it is more apt to say “whitewater floats a new economy.”
This week, community members gathered alongside the Winnipesaukee River downtown to celebrate a project described as “transformative” for this former mill city, as two significant grants push the Mill City Park closer to reality.
The project received a $180,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Franklin Savings Bank is donating $250,000.
There are about 280 whitewater parks across the country, but this one will be the first in New England. More than that, says developer Marty Parichand, it is a catalyst that for boosting the city’s economy, generating $6.8 million of direct spending in the region.
The river runs through the heart of downtown, which once fed mills turning out wool cloth, hacksaws and hosiery. Thrill seekers will head to the city to run the Class II, III and IV whitewater and entrepreneurs can catch the wave of the new economy on the rise.
Projects like Mill City Park, Commissioner Taylor Caswell, of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, told those gathered in Trestle View Park, will draw more than visitors; it will draw visitors who turn into residents, drawn by the lifestyle and the opportunities in the Granite State.
“One of the biggest things for me is to be able to emphasize the fact that in New Hampshire, we have a community; we have recreation and we have quality of life for everybody,” he said. “In the big picture, it is absolutely crucial what you’re doing, not just for your community, but for the state as a whole, because that is what we are doing every day — telling the story of New Hampshire; telling the story of the quality of life and telling everyone how great it is here. This is one more piece we can put in our toolbox.”
NH Division of Economic Development