Rail Trail Extension Community Meeting March 25

Tuesday, March 25th, 7:00-9:00 PM at Leeds School Cafeteria

Come gain more information and offer your input on the extension of the Bike Path/Rail Trail from Grove Ave. in Leeds to South Main St. in Haydenville coming this spring and summer.  Wayne Feiden, Northampton Director of Planning and Sustainability, will share plans for the extension and request your input.  Please come and share your ideas.  For more info call Alisa Klein at 586-9123 (email aklein@northamptonma.gov) or LeedsCivicAssoc@gmail.com.


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March 2014 Newsletter — Get Ready for Some Riverwalks!

MRGI Newsletter

March 2014


Dear Friends of the Mill River,

        Yes, trust but verify that spring will arrive this year, and prepare yourselves for a great 2014 with the Mill River Greenway Initiative.

 ·      We have a fantastic series of 9 riverwalks and 1 paddle this year from April to December.  Check it out at the end of this newsletter.

 ·      We are currently working on 2 new neighborhood Mill River working groups to follow the lead of the Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee, one in Bay State and one in Leeds.  If you’re interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please let us know at info@millrivergreenway.org

 ·      …speaking of which, please let us know the village you live in.  We’d like to include that in our membership data so that we can better target our messages to particular localities.

 ·      Williamsburg and Northampton collaborated this winter on a grant proposal to the Recreational Trails Program of the MA DCR.   The grant would cover preliminary drainage and grading work on the existing unimproved rail trail along the Mill River from the Williamsburg-Northampton town line out to the foot of South Main Street, Haydenville, and pedestrian/bicycle improvements along the length of South Main.

 ·      Williamsburg is launching a Brassworks Area subcommittee to consider the unique opportunities and challenges posed by the historic Brassworks mill site and its role in the larger Greenway project.

 ·      We are working on a long-term plan to link Haydenville and Williamsburg Center with a dedicated Greenway lane along the river side of Route 9.  The Mass. Dept. of Transportation will be re-building Route 9 sometime in the next decade, and we are already partners in helping design that roadway. 

 ·      In addition to the main Greenway corridor on the Route 9 road bed, the Williamsburg MRGC is considering the possibility of developing small-scale walking trails along the river where conditions permit.

2014 Riverwalks

SPACE IS LIMITED!  Please email info@millrivergreenway.org to reserve your spot.   Only pre-registered participants will receive information on the time and meeting place plus other important details.  Thanks for your understanding.

           We’re excited about taking folks out to explore the Mill River from River’s End at Arcadia Refuge to the site of the dam that gave way, causing the disastrous 1874 flood.  We’re limiting these walks to 20 participants, so reserve your space.  At least one of our co-moderators (Gaby, John, or Neal) will accompany the walks, along with local experts in the history and ecology of the river.

Mill Riverwalk Schedule 2014

Sponsored by the Mill River Greenway Initiative, Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways and Smith College CEEDS (Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability)

April 5            Downtown Northampton I:  Paradise Pond to Old South Street

April 26          River’s End:  Spring Paddle in the Floodplain Forest, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

May 10           Downtown Northampton II: Old South Street to Hockanum Road

June 14            Bay State Village:  Paradise Pond to the Cutlery Building

July 12             Florence I:  Nonotuck Dam to Meadow Street

Sept. 6             Leeds: Cook’s Dam to River Road

Sept. 20          Florence II:  Crimson & Clover/Northampton Community Farm

Oct. 4              Leeds to Haydenville:  River Road to South Main Street

Nov. 1             Williamsburg, East Branch: Meekins Library to Old Dam Site

Dec. 6              Haydenville to Williamsburg:  Brassworks to Skinnerville



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Hidden Mill Riverwalk — Paradise Pond to Old South St.

The Mill River Greenway Initiative is sponsoring a guided tour with John Sinton from the historic dam site at Paradise Pond to downtown Northampton where the river used to run.  Easy 1.25 mile walk. SATURDAY, Nov. 16, 10:00-11:30 AM. Meet at Smith College botanic garden.  Contact info@millrivergreenway.org

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Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee Report

The Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee is pleased to provide you with a link to our recently-completed report on the feasibility of establishing a Greenway along the Mill River between Haydenville and Williamsburg centers.

The report provides a thorough, thoughtful evaluation of the many variables in creating a Greenway, including the technical, environmental, financial, historical, commercial, and social aspects of such a project.  It includes maps, concept sketches, community feedback, and next steps for further action.

We’re sending you our report because we hope for and need your continued input and energy to move this exciting project forward.  It will take the power of many citizens, organizations, town government, and state/federal granting agencies to make the dream of a Mill River Greenway come to fruition.

Please take some time to flip through this informative and enjoyable report, and forward this email to others who would be interested.

Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Feasibility Report


gaby (on behalf of the Williamsburg MRGC)

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We’re Back! Autumn News from MRGI

We’re back from summer hiatus and ready for a great fall.  Here’s the news:

1. Please welcome our new co-moderator Gaby Immerman, who joins Neal Bastek and John Sinton in leading our MRGI initiatives.  Gaby wears many hats — she’s a member of the Williamsburg Greenway Town Committee, serves on the board of Grow Food Northampton, and is the chair of the Florence Organic Community Garden steering committee.  By day she teaches horticulture at Smith College as well as running her own small landscaping business, Green Thumb for Hire, out of her Haydenville backyard.

2. October 30, 7:00pm at Northampton’s City Council Chambers is a meeting of the CPA (Community Preservation Committee) to consider funding of a crucial trail project that will finish off the final 0.35 miles of the multi-use rail trail from Leeds to the Williamsburg town line.   Here’s the link to the project application. The CPC will  also consider an application for an ecological assessment of Northampton open space, including key parcels along the Mill River.  Please attend this meeting to show strong community support for this application!

3. Save the Date — Friday December 6 from 6:00-8:00 PM for a late fall get- together of everyone interested in the Mill River.  We’ll be talking about a long-term strategic plan for MRGI and will need your input.  Topics include: Trail initiatives, a watershed-wide master plan for managing invasive plants, and the opportunity to create a Mill River Consortium of all groups invested in the Mill River.

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Part 4 of A Mill River History

Part 4 of A Mill River History —  Contact: The Nonotuck and the English — has now been posted here.

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Scouting for Invasive Plants July 24th

We are partnering with the Connecticut River Watershed Council and Grow Food Northampton to survey a portion of the Mill River off Meadow Street for invasive plant species.  MRGI members are more than welcome to join in the beginning of this effort to manage invasives along the Mill River from Look Park to Meadow St.

Meet at the Florence Organic Garden on Meadow St. in Florence at 9:00 AM on Wednesday July 24th.  Gaby Immerman, plant expert extraordinaire, will introduce you to the subject and the area.

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Trash In Leeds

Please read today’s front page of the Gazette with Bob Dunn’s lead article on the trash problem along the Mill in Leeds.  We hope that MRGI will be able to work with the Leeds Civic Association and the City to help alleviate the problem.  We’ll keep you up to date on our progress.

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New Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Study

Here it is!  After a year’s study, Williamsburg’s Mill River Greenway Committee has published its Mill River Greenway Feasibility Report that focuses on ways to link Haydenville and Williamsburg Center along the river.  It’s well worth a look, and congratulations go out to the committee and the town.

“Our study established conceptual path corridors and documented public comments, which serve as a basis for the next physical planning phase. The report identifies a number of strategic phases for competitive grant applications in order to combine our local objectives with ongoing regional planning processes to achieve the economy of scale needed to obtain economic feasibility.

The Mill River Greenway Committee concludes that such a Greenway within the Mill River Corridor is feasible, and would be of great benefit to our Town and the surrounding communities. We have refined the goal, identified community support, and affirmed the physical, ecological, technical, and economic feasibility of implementing alternative transportation linkages.”

You can find the full report here.


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June 1st Launch of MRGI’s First Riverwalk Brochure — Paradise Pond to Old South St.

Come help us launch the first of MRGI’s series of self-guided historic riverwalks, this one from Paradise Pond on the Smith College campus to Old South Street in downtown Northampton.  You will be walking through more than 350 years of history on this riverwalk, which focuses on the centers of Northampton’s early industries as well as the history of the river itself.

John Sinton, MRGI’s co-moderator, will lead the tour, which includes stops at early mill sites, at the 1940 diversion, then a walk alongside the former bed of the “Hidden Mill River” and an endpoint where the first bridge across the Mill was built in the 17th century.

Everyone will get a copy of the beautiful brochure with its map and text, along with historic maps and photos.

Time & Date: 10:00-11:30  Saturday, June 1st

Meeting Place: The Boathouse across from the Greenhouse on Paradise Pond

Heavy rain cancels the event.

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