The Mill River Greenway is…
a working group of local citizens who aim to protect the Mill River watershed, preserve its cultural artifacts, enhance its biological health and encourage recreational activity. Our goal is to design and create a greenway along the river.
If you're interested in participating in the Mill River Greenway effort,
send us an email Tell us about your Mill River experience.
New Invasive Species Guide!
Areas of Interest:
CONTRIBUTE YOUR IDEAS AT OUR SECOND MEETING WITH THE CONWAY SCHOOL
Monday, Feb. 29, 7:00-9:00 PM at the Florence Civic Center
Dear Mill River Lovers,
Once again we’re asking you to contribute ideas on how to advance our goals for a greenway along the Mill River. Margot Halpin and Armi Macaballug, grad students at the Conway School, will be on hand to present the results of our Feb. 2nd meeting and report on how they’ve integrated your comments into their preliminary suggestions for priority projects. They’ll discuss opportunities for a variety of projects from multi-use paths to woodland trails to ecological and research sites to scenic overviews and historic sites.
Agenda For The Meeting:
- Review input from last community meeting.
- Present recent Conway School work including methods, maps, and analysis.
- Review regional map from Arcadia to Goshen to see relationships among opportunity areas, current green spaces, parks, public lands, bike routes, pedestrian routes, and paths. Request comments from the community.
- Discuss a selection of focus areas with maps and solicit input from the community.
- Discuss next steps.
Once again we stress that your contributions are vital: You know specific information about the river itself, but especially about your preferences concerning what you would or would not like to happen to different sections of the river. Here’s your chance to make a difference in the long run because your voices are needed to carry out our collective vision of a beautiful and vibrant river corridor.
See you at the Florence Civic Center on February 29th. If you can’t make it, please send your ideas to Armi and Margot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks for making this all possible,
The MRGI co-conspirators
“The River Runs Through Us”
The Leeds Civic Association and Leeds Committee of MRGI are seeking funds to provide historical interpretative signage to compliment the Mill River Greenway Initiative’s Self-Guided walking tour through historic Leeds. Historical signage will depict the village during its manufacturing heyday as the center of economic and industrial vitality in Northampton. Mills, using water power from the Mill River, produced silk thread, woolen broadcloth, and vegetable ivory buttons, which will all be displayed near their historic locations. A proposal for a small CPA grant is currently being crafted, and, if that is approved, the cost to produce the remaining signage will be approximately $1,500. Checks can be made out to Leeds Civic Association with “Historic Signage” written in the memo line. Checks can be sent to LCA at PO box 114 Leeds, MA 01053
Thank you for helping fund this project supporting Mill River history!
From Jason Johnson and the gang at the Leeds Mill River Committee and the Leeds Civic Association
I live on that same river and have watched it, listened to it, and painted it over the years. But after reading Elizabeth Sharpe’s In the Shadow of the Dam, a carefully and beautifully documented account of the flood, I began to think l about making art about this tragic event. Tragic on two levels: that of man versus nature, but also that of man versus man, since it was shoddy construction, condoned by greedy mill owners, that caused the deaths of so many innocent people.
EVERYONE IS INVITED TO CONTRIBUTE IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS TO ADVANCE THE GREENWAY FROM VISION TO REALITY
TUESDAY, FEB. 2, 7:00-9:00 PM
FLORENCE CIVIC CENTER — Park St. and N. Main in Florence next to Lilly Library
To All Mill River Lovers,
Please come and contribute ideas to MRGI’s first ever working session to advance our goals throughout the Mill River Watershed. Because of your generous donations, we were able to hire Margot Halpin and Armi Macaballug of the Conway School, Easthampton (formerly the Conway School of Landscape Design). We’re excited because this is the first time we will be able to view the whole Mill River watershed from Goshen to Williamsburg to Northampton and begin to figure out where we should focus our attention.
Armi and Margot have been asked to present images, designs, and maps of the natural and cultural features of the river along with an assessment of how much we know about each section of river and where we need to gather more information
Here’s where your contributions are vital: You know specific information about the river itself, but especially about your preferences concerning what you would or would not like to happen to different sections of the river. Here’s your chance to make a difference in the long run because your voices are needed to carry out our collective vision of a beautiful and vibrant Mill River corridor.
The Feb. 2 event will be a working meeting that will produce ideas and suggestions for Margot and Armi to incorporate into a second meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, Leap Day to present an integrated vision of what you would like to see happen as well as what factors might permit or limit activities, such as preservation, access, or the building of bridges and multi-purpose paths. All these results will become fodder for a strategic plan that will concentrate our energies and activities over the next several years.
A quick word on the timing of these meetings: Conway School’s winter semester began late January and will end in late March, thus the short time between meetings. In order to prepare all the materials in a timely manner, Margot and Armi have to wrestle with a very tight, exhausting schedule. We’ll depend on the patience and fortitude of you, our amazing MRGI friends, to advance our visions.
See you at the Florence Civic Center on February 2nd. If you can’t make it, please send your ideas to Armi and Margot at email@example.com.
Once again, many thanks for making this all possible,
The MRGI co-conspirators
“The River Runs Through Us”
Dear Mill River Greenway lovers,
We are filled with gratitude and excitement as 2016 begins. Above all, we are grateful for your outpouring of support for our work with The Conway School for a gap analysis of the watershed’s natural, cultural, and recreational assets. It will help us set priorities for the next 5 years and provide an inventory and analysis of all our maps, images, documents, and GIS materials.
WE HAVE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL for funding this program and really can’t believe how lucky we are to have been able to meet you, walk with you, bring you out to the river and have you respond with such generosity and spontaneity.
Wow, we’re simply overwhelmed with the support of MORE THAN 50 of our Mill River folks. We will be sending out letters of thanks and tax deduction receipts to everyone within the next 2 weeks, so if you have donated but not been recognized with a note, please let us know.
But wait, we’re not finished with the good news.
First, Maggie Leonard, landscape designer/builder/planner, as well as a former adjunct instructor at UMass and the owner of Paradise City Landscape Design, has agreed to lead MRGI in our initiative with the Conway School of Landscape Design/Easthampton Branch. Maggie is an extraordinarily capable landscape architect/regional planner, an excellent teacher, and a strategic thinker. She will have the full support of Gaby, John, and Neal, as well as our GIS guru at Smith, Jon Caris. We will have 2 Conway students to work with on this project, which begins the second week of January and concludes at the end of March. There will be a crucial community listening session at some point mid-way, which you will be hearing more about as soon as the students get cracking.
Second, our two projects with Smith students will continue through the Spring term. The first is an engineering design for the “goat path” connector from the rail trail at the Leeds/Haydenville line to South Main St. in Haydenville. The second is a self-guided walking tour brochure for Industrial Florence. The engineering project is happening under the watchful eye of Susannah Howe, Director of the Smith College Design Clinic, and the brochure effort is being led by Wendy Sinton of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee and Scott Laidlaw, an architect from Florence.
Third, working with the Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee, Peter Flinker and intern Nelle Ward of Dodson and Flinker Associates have delivered a superb analysis of the options for trail siting across the Brassworks Meadow area in Haydenville, part of the eventual link between Haydenville and Williamsburg Center.
Fourth, our watershed-wide approach to managing invasive plant species will take a big leap forward with the imminent release of a management plan being created by the New England Wild Flower Society on behalf of Smith College.
Let us know if you have any questions or would like to see copies of, or contribute to any of these projects.
You have warmed our hearts in this season of cold. We will continue to work tirelessly to fulfill our promises to all of you and especially to the river that runs through us.
All the best, with hopes of seeing you all in ’16,
Gaby, John, and Neal
PS A shout out to Jim Gipe, who allowed us to use this gorgeous 2009 photo!
Welcome to Fall on the Mill River! It’s been 2 eventful months since our last communication, and we’ve got some welcome news.
- Our final 2015 Riverwalk will be to the 1874 Williamsburg Dam Disaster Site on Saturday, November 14 10:00-12:00 with Eric Weber, Williamsburg historian. Please sign up for this as soon as you can – these events fill up quickly. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Linking Leeds to Haydenville! We’re thrilled that four great Smith College students – Sophia Poulos, Joanna Kenneally, Jin Rui Yap, and Eliana Perlmutter – will be the engineering team to design the path from the Leeds rail trail down to South Main St. in Haydenville. Working with their professor Susannah Howe, engineer Jim Hyslip, and a team from Northampton’s Dept. of Public Works and Dept. of Planning and Sustainability, the students will develop a series of alternative designs and costs for the project. They will submit their report in April 2016.
- A self-guided tour brochure for Florence! We have a fantastic team of four Smith students – Nina Jarrell, Dianne Jester-Wieland, Bella Revett, and Julia Scarselli – who will produce a walking tour for Florence based on the Transit Authority Figures’ design for the Hidden Mill and Leeds. Scott Laidlaw of Florence and Wendy Sinton of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee will lead this project with the support of MRGI and Kelly Anderson, Smith archivist and oral historian..
- We hope to have some exciting news in the coming months about a long-term working relationship with the Conway School of Landscape Design. Stay tuned!
Thanks for a wonderful year, and please let us know what you’d like to see happen on the Mill in 2016. Here’s to a happy winter,
Gaby, John, and Neal
Walk through history in Florence
Saturday at 9:30 come join us to learn about African-American history in Florence including Sojourner Truth’s house, abolitionist sites and the 19th c. utopian community in Florence. We will explain what brought a progressive group of people to Florence in the 19th century, how they influenced Florence’s development and what happened to those innovative and progressive people.
Walk starts at the Sojourner Truth statue, Park & Pine St. in Florence at 9:30 a.m.
Walk sponsored by Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee and David Ruggles Center
Walks last about 1 1/2 hours. No need to sign up ahead of time, come and join us on Saturday morning!
Get ready for some high summer fun on the two Florence riverwalks and prepare for a fantastic fall!
The Florence I riverwalk from Maines Field to Meadow St. Bridge will be led by Wendy Sinton of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee and MRGI’s John Sinton. It’ll feature the Mill River industries that drove Florence’s prosperity with a focus on the underground railroad and the Northampton Association of Industry and Education. That’s Sat. August 15.
The Florence II walk on Sat. Sept. 26 walk is one of our most popular, featuring naturalist Laurie Sanders and Elizabeth Sharpe, author of In the Shadow of the Dam. It will cover the river from Meadow St. Bridge to Crimson & Clover farm across from Look Park.
Room is available on both those tours, a sneak preview of which can be found at this link, which you should simply copy onto your browser: https://player.vimeo.com/external/133577379.source.mp4?s=31561790f19a26cad582699c08cf0c56&profile_id=0&download=1
The video was brought to you by Burgy’s inimitable and invaluable Tom Adams, Director/Owner of Reelife Documentary Productions & Folktography by Tom
And get ready for a fantastic fall. We’ll be working with new partners and old to create a path from Leeds to Haydenville, to begin some invasive management, to develop a partnership with the Conway School, and add to our Mill River History.
With all our best wishes, John and Gaby
Here’s an amazing interactive map for the Mill Riverwalk from Paradise Pond to Old South Street. Check it out and send us your feedback at email@example.com
Thanks to the incredible work of Victoria Beckley and Jon Caris at the Spatial Analysis Laboratory at Smith College, we have an interactive map of the riverwalk from Paradise Pond to the corner of Old South Street and Conz in Northampton. This is a companion to the brochure, but allows us to display other features and links, such as Smith College’s Paradise Pond monitoring project. It also provides a more accurate location for the former Hoe Shop at the dam.
Please let us know what you think of it. You can find it here.