ARTS - CULTURE - LOCAL DINING - BACK TO THE RIVER takes a focused look at the neighborhood of Indian Orchard in their historic mill district and provides strategies for urban design and landscape architecture to support residents’ visions for the future. With the Studio’s partnership between the Indian Orchard Citizen’s Council, Grow IO (Wellspring Harvest), and the Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, the overarching goal for each design team was to create a transformative dining and arts district in the historic core of Indian Orchard. The Senior Urban Design Studio 2022 created six unique team proposals that explore and showcase different alternatives. Core recommendations are:
• Engaging the Chicopee River in the neighborhood through pathways, boardwalks and overlooks for walking, fishing, kayaking and fitness and strongly search for funding opportunities such as the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the MassTrails Grant.
• Providing guidance for the Fresh Paint community-building mural events in 2023-2024 through discovering and proposing sites.
• Activate Front Street as an entrance to the mills, a greenway and a place for new artist-related education, commerce such as boat rental or dining and entertainment.
• Activate vacant or underused lots through community gardening and outdoor dining.
• Improved connections between the Indian Orchard Mills and Main Street that includes new programming and stacking of activities for the parking lot.
• Activate the back of the Indian Orchard Mills through tying it into the proposed greenway, foster hospitality activities in/outside.
the Mills and explore work-live opportunities in the Mills to bring new residents into the district.
• Sidewalk improvements for better walkability and safety at night, street improvements that enhance the safety of bicycling.
• Inclusion of art and activities that acknowledge the indigenous history of the place and the diversity of today.
• Reduce the impact of impervious surfaces through tree planting and green stormwater infrastructure.
The Senior Urban Design Studio 2022 is hopeful that the residents and leaders in the community will find the visions that are displayed in this report are inspirational and supportive to guide the heart of Indian Orchard into a great future.
Keywords: Urban Design – Greenway – Indian Orchard – Chicopee River – Tactical Urbanism – Community Service Learning