Judie Milner, City Manager
Marty Parichand, Executive Directive of Mill City Park
The City of Franklin in partnership with Mill City Park, a nonprofit entity, is thrilled to announce that they have received the first whitewater park wetlands permit in New England. “I want to thank Commissioner Scott and his team at DES for believing in this project, says City Manager Judie Milner, “they certainly ran us through our paces and crossed all the t’s and dotted all the I’s but in the end worked with us to get the iconic project off the ground.”
The idea of a whitewater kayak park started about 6 years ago when Marty Parichand brought the idea forward to City officials working on revitalization of the once booming Mill community. “The Winnipesaukee river is the reason Franklin is on the map”, stated Marty Parichand, Executive Director of Mill City Park, “Our City has been disconnected from the river for too long. It is time to let the river repower Franklin.”
The idea has gained momentum ever since sparking interest from developers like Chinburg Builders who purchased the largest defunct mill located in the downtown as result of the whitewater park. “The whitewater park was a major factor in considering the Stevens Mill project. The mill renovations we specialize in attract a younger outdoorsy clientele that pairs perfectly with the goals of the whitewater park”, confirmed Eric Chinburg, President of Chinburg Properties. “Often it is hard to invest in underutilized mill buildings, without community support and a dedication to community improvement, both of which we found in Franklin.”
Other accolades include:
- 5 federal grants totaling over $1.7million
- $250,000 donation for grant matching from our local community bank, Franklin Savings Bank
- Significant contributions from Tim Horne Foundation, Gilbert Block, Capital Region Development Corporation, & Franklin Business & Industrial Development Corporation (the City’s “economic arm”)
- Donations & support from 100’s of community members
- Received award for project of the year from the New Hampshire Chapter of American Planners Association AND Northern New England Chapter of American Planners Association
- Received Lakes Region Planning Commission Community Service Award
- Received “Most Promising Downtown Development” award from NH Business Review
The whitewater park, which ends at the base of Franklin’s downtown, is the foundation of the redevelopment and cornerstone of the City’s rebranding efforts as an outdoor recreation destination. “It is the anchor of several outdoor recreation opportunities located in Franklin such as 155 miles of mountain biking trails, two-disc golf courses, a ski area, lake and more”, comments Manager Milner.
The power of this project is not only in the users but also the visitors who come to watch. “The State of New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs has estimated this project will increase direct spending regionally by close to $7m and bring approximately 161,000 people to the City,” explains Jim Aberg, Executive Director of Franklin Business & Industrial Development Corporation.
After 6 years of hard work this permit finally gives us the ability to schedule construction of the in-river features making this project a reality creating a domino effect for multiple other economic development priorities. NH Department of Business & Economic Affairs Commissioner, Taylor Caswell, recently stated “If you want to know what’s next in the State of New Hampshire look no further than the City of Franklin.” We agree.