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Momentum

New Commisioner: NH Entrepreneurship, workforce top list

New Commisioner: NH Entrepreneurship, workforce top list

"We need to rethink our vision of downtown. Look at Franklin. They have an organization there that’s been acquiring properties, not turning them into retail, but co-working spaces, restaurants, outdoor stores. They’ve applied for grants to study the construction of a new white-water rafting park, and they’ve got really good mountain bike trails. That stuff works..."

Franklin’s revitalization project picking up momentum

Franklin’s revitalization project picking up momentum

Concord Monitor | Elodie Reed

In his three decades of watching Franklin start and stop economic revitalization projects, Franklin Savings Bank President Ron Magoon said this time, something’s different.

“In 29 years, this is the first time there’s been all the right people at the table,” he said.

That includes city officials, local businesses, the nonprofit PermaCityLife and members of the public. Through collaborative efforts, new businesses have opened up downtown, an old mill building has been renovated for affordable housing, and plans have moved forward for a whitewater play park.

It was with confidence, then, that Franklin Savings Bank bought a quarter of the $400,000 in tax credits New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority awarded to the Franklin Business and Industrial Development Corporation in August.

Franklin Savings Bank made its investment in February. Bank of New Hampshire followed with a $25,000 purchase, and just recently, Eversource Energy bought up the remaining $275,000.

Now, that money will go toward facade improvements for buildings owned by PermaCityLife. They are slated to begin in July or August and last through the end of the year.

“There’s been so much deferred maintenance in these buildings,” Todd Workman, PermaCityLife’s executive director said. Buell’s Block, Shepard Block and 337 Central St. will all get a facelift, though through the above mentioned partnerships, the work has already begun.

Where once empty and boarded storefronts lined the bottom floor of Buell’s Block, new green-painted facades welcome visitors to a coffee shop and outdoor sports store.

Across the street at “Toad Hall,” the former art gallery is being renovated into a tavern – new paint covered the tin ceilings Monday, and the large windows will be replaced within the month.

All of these upgrades will continue with the CDFA tax credit money. More windows will be replaced in Buell’s Block, and the back of the building will have work done to make way for a brewery.

At 337 Central St., the three storefronts there will get “a complete redo,” Workman said.

This work is what moves PermaCityLife’s goals from planning to action, Workman said. And some of the organization’s permaculture ideas will become tangible, too: a “green roof” is part of the upgrade for 337 Central St.

When businesses with rooftop gardens, a tavern, shops and a fixed up city center are noticeable to those driving through, City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said, Franklin becomes a place people want to be.

“People buy with their eyes,” she said. “To be able to see some visible changes to the buildings will be able to help change the perception.”

Workman added, “The stigma goes away and people start to have confidence in the project.”

Franklin has a number of long-held stigmas to overcome, but given all that’s already happened in the downtown, the community partners there are optimistic.

“We have a lot of momentum building,” Dragon said. Workman regularly receives referrals for small businesses wanting to move to Franklin, and tradesmen, business owners and organizations already in the community are getting involved, too.

From the Franklin Business and Industrial Development Corporation’s perspective, the hope is that in addition to retail businesses, a stronger downtown Franklin will attract a skilled workforce.

“We have a shortage of skilled labor,” FBIDC director Jim Aberg said. “It’s one thing to have the jobs offered in the industrial park, but as people say, where’s my wife going to shop, where are my kids going to school?”

It’s a future that seems a little closer, at least to Franklin Savings Bank’s Magoon.

“If it fails this time, it’s never going to happen – this is the best shot we have and have ever had,” he said. “I think everyone is truly optimistic this is going to happen. And it is happening.”

http://www.concordmonitor.com/Franklin-NH-facade-improvements-fully-funded-9410846

BOAT BASH SNOW CRASH | full

BOAT BASH SNOW CRASH | full

The First Boat Bash Snow Crash was a success despite the 25+ mph gusts and the well below freezing temperatures. As Northern Yankees we are hearty, as such, every New England state was represented in the over 140 people that came out to our inaugural event. The event was a collaboration between the Franklin Outing Club and Mill City Park, which brought in positive donations for both groups.

However, this event would not be possible without our gracious sponsors and volunteers!

Thank you all for making this event a reality!

Donations |

Rowell's Services, Beck & Bellucci, New England Pro Greens & Turf, JA Garneau, Grevior Furniture, Franklin Studio, Blackfly Canoe, Franklin Savings Bank, Morrill's Landscaping, SKR Site Work, Sweet Protection, LiquidLogic, Hidden Collective, Franklin Fire Department and Outdoor New England.

Volunteers |

Mark Pickard, Steve Nelson, The Stanley's, Colby Morrill, Chris Downey, Dave Curdie, Tom Atwood, Steve Donahue, The Mullavey's, Scott Burns, Chad Carey, Cheryl Joyce, Eric Keck, The Coulter's, Jamie Parent, The Ford's, Alan Carigan, Bob Lucas, Orli Gottleib, Rob Schafsteck, Jeremy Laucks, Owen P, The Grevior's, Jim Jones, Daniel Fithian, James Detzel, Dominic Capozzi and CREEKBOAT MAN!

Business IQ Radio Interview

NH SBDC Business Advisor Andrea O'Brien & Professor and Business Owner Don Byrne interview Marty Parichand.

A Letter to the City of Franklin...

This letter was provided to the City of Franklin, which was read during the City Hearing on October 24, 2016.

To Whom it may concern with the City of Franklin,
My name is Jesse Nicola. I am writing you in recommendation of proceeding with funding relating to investigating and hopefully later building, a whitewater park.
I feel I have significant insight into the region, having spent much of my childhood in Franklin. My father owned the Radio Shack for many years, my Mother worked at the Franklin Middle School, and I myself attended the Franklin Middle School. I attended the Unitarian Church for many years, and still attend the Christmas Eve sermon.
It is my opinion that the benefits of bringing whitewater recreation to Franklin would provide a vital economic and cultural boost to the region.
Whitewater is a team sport. As a participant, you aren’t just trying to navigate through a river, you as a group must safely navigate it. If someone needs help, you will be there for them, as they will be there for you should the need arise. This mentality is prevalent at all levels of the sport, as you will often see experts helping beginners, responding to shows of gratitude by saying “a hundred people have helped me”.
Why does Franklin need another team sport? Because this team sport brings together a diverse group of people unlike anything the region currently has.
Whitewater blurs the lines of indifference. As a participant, you often find yourself sitting amongst peers who range from old to young, doctors to ditch diggers, wealthy to poor. It brings people from all walks of life together, enables them to relate, to share, and to care about each other.
This Camaraderie doesn’t end on the river. It shows youths that what they’re going through, may not be as big of a problem as they think. It shows young adults alternative career tracks, and It helps older community members find understanding of the younger generations. It builds and strengthens relationships for all those who participate, building blocks upon which a strong community is formed.
The benefits hardly end there though. This will bring money to your city, as people will travel for this experience. These people will eat in your city. They will stay in your city. Businesses can form to cater to these people. Just look at the city of Charlemont, MA. A small rural town far off the beaten path. This region was able to negotiate extensive whitewater recreation on the Deerfield river, which in turn has brought jobs for hundreds, recreation for tens of thousands, and a solidarity amongst the residents.
I encourage you as a city to not just consider this opportunity, but to wholeheartedly pursue it.
Thanks you for your time,
Jesse Nicola

Colby-Sawyer College Launches Three-Year Degree in Community-Based Sustainability

Colby-Sawyer College | Jennifer White

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees approved a three-year Bachelor of Science degree in community-based sustainability that will launch in fall 2016. The major was developed as a result of an innovation grant that the college received from the Davis Educational Foundation.

Through hands-on courses and a unique partnership with Franklin-based nonprofit PermaCity Life, students will have the opportunity to develop relevant skills for creative and complex problem solving, work directly with regional stakeholders and potential employers, and do their part to help create a resilient, vibrant, diverse and sustainable community in Franklin, N.H.

New Hampshire’s smallest city is on the cusp of a sustainable revitalization and, thanks to this community-based collaboration between local organizations and Colby-Sawyer, students are positioned both to learn from and contribute to that effort. The major is complemented by a broader campus-wide program called the Sustainable Learning Initiative (SLI) at Franklin Falls, which offers students in every discipline experiential learning opportunities to explore, design and develop sustainable solutions to real and evolving community needs. The initiative is intended to be flexible and modular, allowing faculty to tailor an existing assignment or an entire course to focus on an aspect of the city’s revitalization.

“This innovative program highlights the best features of Colby-Sawyer’s learning model, which combines rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge and perspectives with experiential learning,” said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculty Deborah A. Taylor, Ph.D. “In partnership with organizations in the Franklin community, students in the community-based sustainability program will put their knowledge to work by developing and implementing sustainability projects.  These projects will advance students’ learning while simultaneously providing tangible benefits to the Franklin community. The program is designed to utilize intensive summer and winter learning experiences, allowing students to complete the degree in three years and thereby to manage the time and cost of education.”

Graduates will pay approximately 20 percent less for their college education and can start their careers or enter graduate school one year earlier by participating in January and May intensives onsite in Franklin.

Ongoing projects in Franklin include a locally themed restaurant and microbrewery, a volunteer-run coffee shop, a co-working space, an art gallery and music venue, multigenerational mixed-use housing, permaculture/edible landscaping, ecologically sound storm-water management, expanded bike trails and a whitewater park. Plans under consideration include an arts cooperative and performance center, reducing traffic downtown, zero-waste and commercial composting, a farmer’s market, a holistic health center, aquaponics and mushroom farming, a technology, research and development lab, market-rate housing and a hostel with function space and café.

Students in the SLI have already contributed to Franklin’s Master Plan, developed company logos, created signage for the local bike-trail system, constructed an Access database for the upcycled art gallery, and conducted a parking inventory for redevelopment planning. This spring, Colby-Sawyer interns will research information technology solutions, create Geographic Information Systems maps, develop tourism strategies, and explore best practices for commercial compost. Faculty have proposed other topics for study such as brownfield mitigation through biogeochemistry, consumer behavior and market research, sociological research for a community-based film project, community ceramics classes and student-run art exhibits, calculating timed-release of river volumes, efficiency and renewable energy, recreational event planning, and best practices for community gardens.

All of these revitalization projects have been made possible through broad collaborative efforts of community partners who share this vision for Franklin, such as: Credere Environmental Associates, Franklin Business & Industrial Development Corporation, Franklin Parks & Recreation, Franklin Regional Hospital, Franklin Savings Bank, Healthy Eating Active Living, Nobis Engineering, CATCH Neighborhood Housing, Lakes Region Planning Commission, Outdoor New England, The Franklin Studio, and Take Root NH. Learn more at: www.sli-franklinfalls.com.

http://www.colby-sawyer.edu/news/community-based-sustainability.com