Media Courtesy of Central Street Media.

On November 6th in soggy shoes and damp clothes, we welcomed almost 100 attendees to a community event at Trestle View Park. The rain fell lightly on the tent as Franklin’s Interim Mayor, Scott Clarenbach, set the stage, explaining the City’s deep industrial history and noting that rain is a requirement if we are to welcome whitewater paddlers. Together we celebrated progress and partnerships related to Franklin’s whitewater project, Mill City Park. The attendance, eagerness, and excitement was proof of a spreading idea. 

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.”

This is a quote from The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell, a book that was required reading somewhere along my educational path. The book is packed with applicable information to understand the movement of ideas through societies. When I first read it, it was simply a homework assignment. It wasn't until I became a part of this community that the book had deeper value and meaning for me.

Multiple organizations at the state and local levels have contributed to and supported our revitalization movement. This connection was demonstrated by the remarks given from the Commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Business and Economic Affairs and avid cycling enthusiast, Taylor Caswell. The Commissioner spoke passionately from his own experience of how recreation can be the engine to redefine, redevelop and restart a community. 

With little interruption, the crowd then heard from Franklin Savings Bank Board of Directors Chairman, Charlie Chandler. With a direct message, booming voice and gusto, Charlie addressed the crowd, proudly unveiling Franklin Savings Bank’s donation of $250,000 to Mill City Park as seed money. By the time of his announcement, half had already been donated and the second installment is scheduled for the 2018 calendar year.

“That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” 

This gracious commitment didn’t materialize overnight. Multiple steps and accomplishments lead to this point, many documented through past articles and papers, and just as many that are not.

As with all of the ongoing downtown efforts, it starts with a relationship, with collaboration, acceptance and belief. These relationships are incredibly important; without them, we are just another group of do-gooders with an application or cold call. 

Our relationship with Franklin Savings Bank started at Outdoor New England on January 1st, 2016. I remember the conversation clearly. I quickly learned the difference between a bank in a community, and a community-first bank. Their commitment to this community is demonstrated monthly if not daily via donations, council, or support to local nonprofits, the City, our revitalization partner PermaCityLife, and now Mill City Park. 

“In the end, Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push—in just the right place—it can be tipped.” 

There is a lot to this quote. 

First, intelligent action. I cannot speak from experience as I am a newcomer to the community. However, others have identified that they believe in the last 30+ years, this is the first time the pieces seem to be coming together. I choose to believe in the players, the change makers, the risk takers, and innovators. This group now encompasses, but is not limited to, municipality members, local and state nonprofits, collegiate academia and administration, state delegates, community members, for profit businesses, and our community-first bank.

Second, the Tipping Point. I honestly don’t believe we are at this infamous moment yet. However, I know we are moving forward. The scale is constantly changing as our idea spreads… The Winnipesaukee River powered Franklin and the region once and it can again. With hard work, continued focus, and our community partners, tomorrow will be brighter and wetter than today… That is our tipping point.

Lastly, thank you Franklin Savings Bank! We are honored and forever grateful for your donation, belief, and unwavering support for this project!

By M. Parichand, Mill City Park