Concord Monitor | David Brooks | June 16, 2022
It’s been a long time coming but the first whitewater park in New England will be officially opened Friday – not that the lack of ribbon-cutting has kept kayakers from trying it out for months.
On Friday at 4 p.m., a celebration will be held Trestle View Park marking the completion of phase one of Mill City Park, kicking off a weekend-long celebration that will include music, food and, of course, whitewater paddling on the Winnipesaukee River.
It’s been six years since business folk and elected officials set up a task force to revitalize Franklin, which has never recovered from the loss of the water-powered mills that led to its creation in the 19th century. The whitewater park was quickly seen as one of the pillars of the effort, based on similar projects out West that became magnets for visitors and spurred downtown development. Years of fund-raising, grant applications, publicity, design and planning followed, leading to construction that began last year.
Eventually, three whitewater features will be built – a standing wave and two holes – with viewing areas along the river bank. While only the standing wave exists at the moment, Franklin has already changed with the creation of whitewater-specific businesses as well as a coffee shop, one microbrewery with another on the way, and several new restaurants including a Jewish-Asian fusion take-out spot and a soon-to-open crepe shop. Most importantly, the city has seen the construction of scores of new apartments and condos including something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: Very high-end condos, costing more than half a million dollars, in the upper floors of downtown buildings.
Friday’s celebration will include comments from team members, elected officials and funding partners about this public-private partnership between the city of Franklin, non-profit Mill City Park, and many volunteers and residents.
“Originally, I thought we were building surf waves. We are actually rebuilding our community’s sustainability, quality of life, and pride,” said Marty Parichand, executive director of the Mill City Park and downtown business owner who was one of the main drivers for the project.
The ceremony will kick off the annual Winni River Days celebration with events for the entire family. For more information, see https://www.millcitypark.com/
Photo by: Jon Decker
Photo by: GEOFF FORESTER
Photo by: GEOFF FORESTER