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Hilltown Voices: Mill River Greenway Initiative hosting forum, seeking feedback

  • Wouter Van Erve, of Amherst, left, and Sarah Duhl, of Northampton, cool off in the Mill River behind the Brassworks building May 18, 2017 in Haydenville. STAFF FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 4/19/2019 12:04:39 PM
Modified: 4/19/2019 12:04:27 PM
Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee to host forum

The Mill River is a natural gem of historic, cultural, ecological and recreational significance here in western Massachusetts. Leading the way to protect the river, preserve its history and enhance recreational opportunities is the Mill River Greenway Initiative, a group of local citizens whose goal is to design and create a greenway along the river.

On Sunday, April 28, the Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee will host a community forum to reveal where plans currently stand with the greenway project and to seek feedback from residents. The event will be held in the auditorium of the Town Offices from 2-4 p.m.

 The greenway will be an open-space corridor managed for conservation and recreation. A long-term project, this event will be the sixth informational forum that the committee has hosted in the last seven years.

“We have a deep commitment to make sure we remain plugged into the needs, concerns and feedback of the community as we move forward with this project,” said Gaby Immerman, chairperson of the Williamsburg Greenway Committee.

“We are excited to show folks where we are to date, and how plans are starting to shape up.”

Immerman said that members of the committee will be joined by project engineers and students from the Smith College Design Clinic, who will provide 3D models and engineering drawings that will stretch the length of the auditorium.

 “It will be a great way to give people an idea of the project, as they will be able to walk along the greenway,” she said.

Over the past year, the committee has raised $9,000 to purchase a 5-acre parcel in the Brassworks Meadows for an open space public park that is currently undergoing ecological restoration.

 The group also secured a grant award of $147,250 from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Recreational Trails Program.

Immerman said that this year there will be a big push to secure other state and private grants. If successful, the project will stay on track to break ground around 2025-2028.

“Our committee has been almost completely self-funded through grants, and we now have several other six-figure grants in the works,” Immerman said, “which means that we are finding ways to pay for the engineering that don’t come out of town funds.”

At present, the committee is reaching out to the Anne T. Dunphy School community discuss how the greenway might become an outdoor classroom for science education and recreation.  

They are also seeking input on the uses for the new Mill River Park where there could be opportunities for fishing, hiking and picnicking.

“We are looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts,” Immerman said.

Literary hike along the rivulet

CUMMINGTON — Enjoy a bit poetry, history and hiking along the Rivulet Trail at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead on Saturday, April 27, from 1-3 p.m.

Offered in collaboration with the Hilltown Land Trust, this hike goes through old-growth forest, focusing on the history of Bryant’s life and his love for nature and the land.

Participants will learn how the landscape surrounding the homestead inspired his poetry and work.

Bring a favorite poem to share after the hike in celebration of Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Member adult: Free. Nonmember adult: $5. Free to Hilltown Land Trust Members.

For more information and to reserve a space, contact Rachel Niswander at:

Goshen Town Hall

GOSHEN — The Goshen Historical Society will sponsor a talk on Goshen’s iconic Town Hall, and its restoration, on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m.

Presented by Noreen Roberts, the presentation will cover an assortment of topics including some of the historic design features, who designed and oversaw the construction, how funds were raised, and information that was uncovered during the 2016 rehabilitation.

The event will take place at the Town Hall at 42 Main St. This talk is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at

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