Our Town: Revitalizing Goshen's Mill Race

By: Katherine Rufener Email
By: Katherine Rufener Email

For many years, Goshen's Mill Race was the city's industrial center. Now, the two and a half mile stretch is being transformed into an artistic and environmental hub for the community.

"This is where all the industry was built up around the canal," said Mark Brinson, director of community development. "This was the place where electricity was generated by the old powerhouse."

Big plans are in store for the mill race area, which now is home to bicycle and pedestrian trails. While it may have been an industrial space in the past, its now slated to become the budding epicenter of Goshen.

"Our hope is that this will become an area where we can provide a lot of different activities," said Brinson, "a place for recreation."

Its current use is mainly recreation but within two years, the race will also be a place to live.

A project already underway will convert the old Hawks Furniture Factory into state of the art loft apartments and studio spaces for artists.

"The Hawks project is what we're calling a live/work housing for young artists, or old artists, of all ages can live and actually produce their art," said Brinson.

The builds are not the only thing getting a makeover as years of industrial use have presented environmental challenges.

"We were able to acquire several grants, brown field clean up grants," said Brinson. "We're investing several million dollars in just cleaning these properties up."

Revitalizing the old also includes the power house, which through the help of a local technological breakthrough could once again provide electricity for the city.

"We have a local company called Lucid Energy which has developed a new turbine, water turbine, that they are planning to introduce here in Goshen," said Brinson.

The turbine is known as a cross flow turbine, which uses a shaft that directs water flow perpendicular to the direction the source is traveling.

"That's very useful in a pipeline because the water is moving in this direction and having the shaft go this way allows you to very easily generate electricity outside the pipeline," said Josh Thomas of Lucid Energy.

The city has also acquired properties along the race, which will help bring about the vision of what it can become for Goshen.

"The river race corridor won't have any one particular identity. It will be a space where you can find recreation. There will be a place you can find entertainment…a place to live," said Brinson.

Something he warns that will take time.

"Although it doesn't look like a lot has happened here, we're just now starting to see some of the fruits of our investments," said Brinson. "I think good things are happening here in Goshen and this will be one of the signature projects for the future."

The artist apartment project, funded through private investors, will cost around $7 million. TIF funds in addition to grants will be used for the environmental cleanup of the area.

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