Franklin opens contest to residents to help design whitewater park project 

Monitor staff
Published: 1/10/2019 5:34:20 PM

The city of Franklin has been working hard the last few years to finalize its plan to create a whitewater park on the Winnipesaukee River.

Now, officials are turning to the community to take part in that process.

Franklin City Manager Judie Milner said she is offering $100 to any Franklin resident who comes up with the best idea for a community project focused on outdoor recreation that could be implemented in Franklin’s downtown.

This could be anything from a creative sculpture to decorations for city trash cans – one person has proposed a design of two paddles criss-crossed on all downtown city trash cans, Milner said.

“I’m looking for something that’s going to be impactful, so that people notice it right away,” Milner said. “It has to be something that catches the eye.”

Milner said she’s specifically hoping that the project will catch the eye of donors and those in charge of distributing federal grants – something the whitewater park, run by Franklin nonprofit Mill City Park, will need.

“It will give them more confidence in investing here,” she said. “It shows that we’re all behind the efforts that are being made and that we are working together.”

At the end of last year, Mill City Park completed its Master Plan for the whitewater park and the 11-acre park that will be located next to it.

In addition to being a destination for New England rafters, Mill City Park will house a community garden, pavilion, two public bathrooms, picnic areas, educational areas, hiking trails, a parking area, a climbing wall and a mountain bike pump track system, Executive Director of Mill City Park Marty Parichand said.

Construction of the park could begin as early as this year. Mill City Park was awarded a $200,000 grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund this fall, which was matched by $200,000 from Franklin Savings Bank. Using those funds, Mill City Park will start clearing for the access road, which will begin off of Willow Street, and installing electric and plumbing that will be necessary for the bathhouses. In the summer of 2020, work will begin on the park’s timber-frame pavilion.

Milner said those who submit designs for the community project don’t have to attain permits for completing the project – or figure out how it would be funded, unless the designer wants to do that research. That will be determined later, Milner said.

“Please don’t be shy. If your project is chosen, you can be as involved or not involved as you like,” Milner wrote. “City staff and volunteers will support you. The important part is to engage citizens to come out and support or volunteer.”

Milner asked that designs be submitted online or mailed to the city manager’s office located at 316 Central St., in Franklin.

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