On Thursday, May 18 2017 representatives of the proposed Turners Falls Cultural District traveled to New Bedford for voting by the the Mass Cultural Council. In attendance were Montague Town Planner Walter Ramsey, Director of RiverCulture Suzanne LoManto, and Lisa Davol representing the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The Town of Montague is pleased to announce that the village's application was accepted and the Turners Falls Cultural District has been added to the impressive list of creative economy communities recognized by the Commonwealth. Turners Falls was joined by Provincetown, Roxbury, and Wellfleet at the ceremony.
The district is a 7 minute walking radius from Avenue A/ Third Street intersection. It encompasses the Carnegie Library, Great Falls Discovery Center, Shea Theater Arts Center, Unity Park, Canalside Rail Trail, inclusive of the numerous public art pieces, galleries, shops, and restaurants in the downtown. The Town had initially applied in 2011, only to be turned down by the State. With the creation of the Downtown Livability Plan, revival of the Shea Theater, construction of Unity Skatepark, streetscape improvements, and the rehabilitation of several key properties over the last 6 years the Town has finally made the mark. According to Montague Town Planner Walter Ramsey “This designation is an affirmation to the community that decades of revitalization efforts are paying off and it is a message to the outside world that Turners Falls is a truly special place.”
The Turners Falls Cultural District is Franklin County's third, joining The Village of Shelburne Falls and The Crossroads Cultural Districts. There are a host of initiatives and resources available to these districts through the Mass Cultural Council and their partners, including state-wide and national marketing opportunities, cultural economic development strategies, and facilities planning and construction through the Cultural Facilities Fund.
In conjunction with this vote, The Mass Cultural Council and Governor Charlie Baker announced $9.3 million in new spending for the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) in fiscal year 2018, celebrating over $100 million in total cultural sector investments since the fund was established in Massachusetts ten years ago.