Willimantic. Powered by Art.
Willimantic Whitewater Partnership (WWP) has recently remediated a prominent site in the heart of Willimantic, Connecticut and prepared it for development. Soon it will be home to a new whitewater park and other public amenities that WWP envisions will be powered with on-site renewable energy.
LAGI is working with WWP in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Office of the Arts.
Together we will be launching an invited design competition to bring forward the best ideas for how to utilize the parcel to generate clean energy while contributing to the creativity and beauty of the development.
The WWP site offers the perfect opportunity to integrate renewable energy, with a richness of resources, including hydro, solar, and wind. The site, in such a prominent location in downtown Willimantic, is ideally situated to be a catalyst for economic and community development.
Interestingly, there is a history of energy around the property. Hydro power provided much of the energy used to run the Smithville cotton mills. Two generations of dam expansions provided increases in power output. There still remains the option to bring small scale run-of-the-river hydro power generation back to the site.
On March 3, 2017, the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Office of the Arts hosted the Land Art Generator Initiative for a workshop in Willimantic.
Participants in this afternoon “think tank” put their heads together around the design challenges of the WWP site.
During the workshop, community members investigated how renewable energy technologies can be incorporated into public art and creative placemaking opportunities so that the intervention on this exciting site will bring the greatest benefit to the city and its people.
An invited competition to design an energy generating artwork for this site will launch in late 2017. Connecticut-based teams will be selected through a state-wide request for qualifications (RFQ) process.
An informational session that is open to the public will be held to kick off the process (time and location TBD). It will be a networking event where artists and designers can team up with engineers and architects, and others in order to form teams and prepare an RFQ response.
Willimantic Whitewater Partnership
Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE)
at Eastern Connecticut State University
Connecticut Department of Economic
and Community Development (DECD)
Office of the Arts
For More Information
To receive updates and details about the program,
please send an email or call Jessica LeClair
firstname.lastname@example.org 860 465-0258
Design Site History
“In 1822, Charles Lee purchased a mill privilege on the east side of present-day Bridge Street and erected a large stone cotton mill. The mills were later known as the Smithville mills. Meanwhile, Matthew Watson, Nathan Tingley, and Arunah Tingley of Providence, R.I., purchased water rights and land just upstream on the west side of Bridge Street. Where earlier there had been a sawmill and gristmill, Watson and the Tingleys built a large stone mill to manufacture cotton cloth, along with houses for themselves and their workers. The Windham Cotton Manufacturing Company, as their enterprise was called, prospered and remained a major textile producer well into the 20th century. In 1907, the mills on both sides of Bridge Street were combined into a single operation. Today, the mills at this location are gone, though two dams, some foundations, some of the mill-worker houses, a former storehouse and a former company store remain standing.”