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Renovation projects in Franklin, Laconia among statewide award winners

  • The Lakes Region Mental Health center in Laconia is shown. Courtesy of Joe St. Pierre

  • The Franklin Light & Power Mill building, now home to 45 housing units. Courtesy of PlanNH

  • Erin Schaick, development and marketing assistant for CATCH housing, walks around the outside of the Franklin Mill housing project in November 2017. Geoff Forester / Monitor file

  • The rebirth of the Franklin Mill into lower-cost housing is a testament to the efforts of a whole bunch of people in the city, but it’s also a testament to a whole bunch of different ways of finding money. Geoff Forester / Monitor file


Monitor staff
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The renovation of the dilapidated Franklin Light & Power Mill into neighborhood housing is one of five renovation projects in the state that have received top honors from PlanNH, a group that supports urban projects.

The Merit Awards program recognizes outstanding building projects that embody what PlanNH calls Smart Growth principles, as well as social responsibility and collaboration. All four winners this year involved rehabilitating existing buildings, often with new uses.

In Franklin, CATCH Neighborhood Housing oversaw the rehabilitation of the old industrial building, which dates to 1895, into 45 lower-cost apartments. The $12 million project was years in the making. The Franklin Light & Power Mill was previously recognized by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance as one of 11 winners of the annual Preservation Achievement Awards.

In Laconia, a Merit Award went to the creation of the Lakes Region Mental Health Center, which consolidated services from several locations but kept them downtown in an existing building.

Also receiving awards were the renovation of the Frank Jones Brew Pub in Portsmouth, the replacement of a covered bridge in Wentworth, and the renovation of the elementary school in downtown Wilton.