Canal District Vision
Turners Falls is one of only a handful of planned mill towns in New England. The Turners Falls Canal District is comprised of 6 former mill sites on 16 acres along the Connecticut River. The river powered the mills for over a century and now powers the largest hydro generation facility in Massachusetts. The Town envisions a mixed-use district that reuses these former industrial properties in a way that integrates downtown with the Connecticut River. With major public and private investments underway in the core of the district, blight will make way for riverfront access as a pathway to revitalization in the north end of the district.
RECENT PROJECT: 5th Street Pedestrian Bridge Improvement/ Canal District Gateway Enhancement Project.
For decades, the Turners Falls “Canal District” has been in a state of decline. Once a center of our economy, the area no longer provides substantial employment or other benefits to residents. Fortunately, we are now realizing progress at key locations, setting the stage for redevelopment and
economic opportunity. Central to the district’s success is the former Southworth Paper Mill at 36 Canal Road (the Mill), which closed in 2017. Shortly thereafter, the Town-owned pedestrian bridge spanning the power canal at 5th Street was condemned and permanently closed. This left the District with no dedicated pedestrian crossing and cut the Mill off from its parking on Canal Street. A new owner purchased the Mill in 2019 and his vision, and those of other Canal District property owners, helped leverage a $2,163,000 MassWorks grant for the “Gateway Improvement Project.” This investment reflects state economic development officials’ belief in the viability and value of the Mill property and their commitment to supporting Canal District redevelopment. A new pedestrian bridge, which included reconfiguration of the 5th and Canal Street intersection to improve pedestrian and bike path user safety, was the central feature of the project. New sidewalks along Canal Street were part of the plan, but will be included at a later phase. The project was bid in October 2021 and construction is expected to be complete by June 30,2022.
RECENT PROJECT: Griswold Cotton Mill Cleanup.
In July 2021 the EPA completed an cleanup and remediation of 11 Power Street- The former Griswold Cotton Mill. The remaining 3 acre site is now prepared for a new use.
Contact the Town Planner for more information about the Turners Falls Canal District