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Renewing an Urban Edge A Vision for Lower Front Street City of Chicopee, Massachusetts

Project Description City Revitalization Plans Environmental Justice Solar Exposure and Impervious Surfaces Access and Circulation Hydrology Canalysis Vegetation Summary Design Phase I - Green Integration Design Phase I - Streetscapes Stormwater Management Guidelines Design Phase II - Destinations Community Garden Design - Sunken Amphitheater Design - Canal Park References

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Caitie Dwyer-Huppert


180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Project Description Site Overview

To Downtown Chicopee

Goals of the City of Chicopee

The City of Chicopee recognizes the importance of this street as a corridor to connect nearby areas planned for revitalization and existing and proposed regional bike and pedestrian paths. The City anticipates an increase in vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic through Lower Front Street as a result of future revitalization efforts and has requested a plan for Lower Front Street to:

Portuguese Club Parking Lot

• Create an attractive, safe, and navigable streetscape for pedestrian, bike, and vehicular traffic; • Physically and visually connect the street to the mills, canal, and downtown business district; • Connect Chicopee to regional bike path networks; and • Upgrade and increase the scale of the corridor’s green infrastructure to better manage stormwater.

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The red dotted-line surrounds the Lower Front Street project site. Different land parcels, outlined in dotted lines, make up the streetscape. Some are City-owned and some are privately owned.

Community Input

The alignment of the City’s goals and the community’s needs suggests a common vision for Lower Front Street: • Integrations The street becomes the missing puzzle piece safely connecting paths and trail networks. It integrates people with nature by re-establishing a more functioning ecological system along the street and canal that provides ecosystem services by absorbing and filtering stormwater, shading the site and improving air quality. The street helps to integrate the industrial history of the site with people’s daily activities.

• Elements for safe and easy travel, especially for pedestrians. • Inviting locations that would motivate people to travel to Lower Front Street. • Better maintenance; currently the street is strewn with litter and appearsvneglected. • Natural elements such as healthy vegetation and wildlife.

• Destinations Vibrant destinations, accessible to all, activate the area. Design charette activity.

City of Chicopee Planning Department

Vision

Community members expressed their feelings about the project site during two public meetings at the Ames Privilege apartment building just east of Lower Front Street. Outreach to businesses in commercial areas south and east of the site and informal conversations with residents and passersby on the surrounding streets also provided input. Community members identified the following needs for Lower Front Street:

In addition, community members identified the street’s proximity to the canal as a great asset.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Project Area

Project Description

I-391

Renewing an Urban Edge

On the northwest corner of downtown Chicopee, Lower Front Street runs 0.34 miles east to west from the Davitt Bridge to Depot Street. The street traces over what was once an active railline and now runs through a mixed residential, commercial, and industrial area located along the historic Cabotville and Lyman Mill complexes. Lower Front Street is situated southeast of the confluence of the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers. The street does not afford views to the rivers but the one remaining functional canal in the city spans the north side of the street’s length, set back from the street behind a low row of mill buildings.

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Davitt Bridge

The City of Chicopee seeks to create an inviting downtown landscape that is a hub of activity, friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, and showcasing the unique history and ecology of the city.

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Study Site Utile Plan Green Street Plan

Pathway Plans

The most recent iteration of the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway shows over 20 miles of pathways.

For over twenty years the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has been developing a regional Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway following the Connecticut River from Agawam to Holyoke. Part of the proposed path passes through the western edge of downtown Chicopee and over the Chicopee River. The City has also been designing and implementing parts of its own path, the Chicopee Canal Walk. The plan for this path extends from Chicopee Falls to the confluence of the Chicopee River and Connecticut River to the west. Phase one of this plan, north of City Hall, has already been built. The planned route for these two paths connect through the study site. These paths in concert may increase pedestrian and bike traffic through the site. Creating destinations and other opportunities for stopping and visiting the site may help to activate the Lower Front Street neighborhood.

Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway Chicopee Canal Walk (built) Chicopee Canal Walk (Proposed) Delta Park

Brownfield Remediation

Stormwater Management

In 2012 the City assessed possible uses of the many brownfields throughout the western portion of downtown. Their assessment included recommendations for the renovation of the former mill buildings as potential destinations and multi-use spaces. The City identified the former Lyman and Cabotville Mills as multi-use spaces which could attract investors and visitors. These buildings create an opportunity for people to interact with the rich history of Chicopee in a contemporary setting. In 2015, the City contracted the Conway School to design an urban park at the confluence of the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers at the former Hampden Steam Plant site. The design proposes that Delta Park becomes a semi-wild place with spaces for a variety of programming, including outdoor education. It proposes to connect the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway and the Chicopee Canal Walk in Delta Park. The site for Delta Park lies northwest of Lower Front Street, just past the I-391 underpass. Connecting the Lower Front Street study site to Delta park would help create a larger network of destinations for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The City of Chicopee has been working to reduce the amount of stormwater directed to the Connecticut River and other water bodies and is in the process of replacing its combined sewer systems. In 2017 the City contracted the Conway School to design green infrastructure along Dwight and Perkins Streets. These designs propose lining the streets with infiltration basins to capture and store stormwater and use it to water street-side vegetation. Streetscape designs for Lower Front Street should, where possible, complement and support the proposed green infrastructure of the adjacent Dwight and Perkins Streets.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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Traffic Flow Improvements The City contracted the Utile Group to design new flow patterns for three areas downtown. These plans propose converting one-way streets into two-way streets to slow traffic and create less circuitous routes through downtown. They also propose creating new and safer routes for bicyclists and pedestrians to encourage alternative transportation. One of the areas designed by the Utile Group focuses on two intersections on Front Street, one at the Davitt Bridge and one at Cabot Street. The designs for this area reduce road width and include two-way streets with bike lanes. If implemented, Utile Group’s design may slow traffic in the study site, making the area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

City Revitalization Plans

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Many factors contribute to this community’s inequitable access to resources and exposure to contaminants in the built environment.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Environmental Justice I-391 Project Site

Demographics

Census Tract

Census tract

Supermarket Farmer’s market Community garden

The USDA Food Research Atlas characterizes the site as within a low-income and low supermarket-access census tract with a relatively high number of households without vehicles and more than one half mile from a supermarket (16.4%; 146 out of 889; 2010-2014 American Community Survey Census Tract Estimates).

Chicopee’s one community garden, started in summer 2015, is located within the Chicopee Falls neighborhood at Lincoln Grove Park, approximately one mile from Lower Front Street. The community garden committee, supported by Chicopee’s Parks and Recreation Department, plans to plant fruit trees at Nash Field in summer 2017, a first step to developing the city’s second garden there. One farmer’s market is held in the Willamansett neighborhood under the I-391 overpass each week on a weekday in the summer (Morrissette). The census tract including the site is characterized as a food desert, a neighborhood lacking healthy food sources based on resident resources (income and vehicle availability) and distance to stores (USDA Economic Research Service). The Connecticut Valley is an agricultural region. The City intends to “identify and establish a location for a year-round farmer’s market” as part of achieving Goal 5 of its Open Space and Recreation Plan. Bringing fresh food into the neighborhood at a weekend farmer’s market and establishing a community garden or other urban agricultural projects could increase access to fresh, healthy, affordable food for people in these neighborhoods.

Effects of Greenspace Near Home A study comparing data from a nation-wide study on the lives of 108,630 nurses and data on the green space around each nurse’s home found that the 20% of nurses living with the most greenness within a 250-meter radius had a 12% lower rate of non-accidental death compared to the 20% with the least greeness. The correlation was strongest for respiratory system and cancer related mortality. Living near greenness may increase physical activity and social engagement while ameliorating depression and minimizing the effects of air pollution (James et al.). Approximately 4.5 million children in the U.S. cope with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Studies have documented a reduction of hyperactive symptoms after isolated experiences in green space. One study analyzed data on 421 children’s ADHD symptoms and their everyday play areas and found that, across all income levels, children who play in relatively open outdoor green spaces have milder symptoms compared to children who play in outdoor built environments or indoors (Faber Taylor & Kuo).

Air The project site is situated east and southeast of Interstate 391. Among other air pollutants, three types of chemicals regulated by the EPA are likely present in the air. Nitrogen oxides are released by the combustion of fossil fuels, particularly in automobiles. In the presence of sunlight, ozone molecules are formed by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, also released by automobiles. Heat can increase ozone formation near the ground surface. Particulate matter with fine particles less than 2.5 micrometers is also the result of reactions between chemicals in the air (EPA). Fine-grained particulate matter exposure has also been linked to cardiac diseases and some cancers. Breathing nitrogen oxides, ozone and particulates can cause respiratory issues for children and the elderly and anyone with lung disease or asthma (EPA). Plants have some ability to accumulate and break down air pollutants and can help improve air quality in urban environments. If planted along roadways, trees can remove some particulate matter from emissions. Plants can metabolize nitrogen dioxide and assimilate it into organic nitrogen-containing compounds (Kennen & Kirkwood). Soil It is safe to assume that the site’s industrial history, including a former railroad corridor along the north side of the street, has left a legacy of soil contamination from both organic and inorganic chemicals throughout the project site. Traditional remediation approaches are expensive and energy intensive. Kennen and Kirkwood define phytotechnology as “the use of vegetation to remediate, contain, or prevent contamination in soils, sediments, and groundwater.” New research on phytotechnologies suggests that costeffective strategies involving plants can be combined with the traditional approaches of capping or removing polluted soils.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Project site

The project site is a tenth of a mile from Wisniewski Park. Although residents in the neighborhoods around the project site have access to this two-acre park, they live in a landscape where paved surfaces dominate. Greater access to greenspace directly adjacent to apartment buildings within the project site can improve the physical and emotional health of residents. Research has documented statistically significant correlations between greenspace and health (below).

Pollution

City of Chicopee Planning Department

Chicopee Open Space and Recreation Plan, April 2015

Lincoln Grove Park

West Springfield

Environmental Justice

“Urban agriculture is a vibrant part of the community and source of local, fresh food for residents.” Goal 5 of the

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Nash Field

Downtown Chicopee Wisniewski Park

Renewing an Urban Edge

Most of downtown Chicopee is identified as an “environmental justice area” by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts due to low income and percent minority population criteria. Median household income in the census block tract immediately encompassing the site (outlined in red at right) is approximately $26,000. Forty-one percent of residents in this block group identify as a minority (2010 U.S. Census MassGIS). Eighty percent of the housing units in this tract are occupied by renters (Chicopee West End Area-Wide Plan). Renters have less agency than homeowners to alter their immediate surroundings, including communal space like yards and blacktop associated with their apartments. Residents of the neighborhood contend with the effects of the urban heat island effect (see Sheet 4). Compared to homeowners with greater means, low-income renters may feel the heat more keenly due to the prohibitive costs of air conditioning and lack of access to refuge from the heat.

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180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Solar Exposure and Impervious Surfaces Solar Exposure Observations

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The site can be hot! There are few places out of full sun. This can be an uncomfortable place for pedestrians and bicyclists in the summer. Solar exposure can increase the formation of the air pollutant ozone.

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High solar energy potential on the site makes this a good place for growing vegetables if new soils are brought in.

Shade from locust trees in early spring.

2 Impervious expanse behind the Family Dollar shopping plaza.

Full Shade Summer

The surface of the site is almost entirely impervious. The city as a whole is approximately 35% impervious. Vacant and little-used parking lots and the rooftops of large buildings make up most of the impervious surfaces. Asphalt, concrete, and roofing form a thermal mass that absorbs, holds, and slowly releases heat into the environment. Evapotranspiration, the process by which plants release water vapor as part of photosynthesis, and the absorption of rainwater by soil and plant roots is limited in highly impervious areas. Without much vegetation, the cooling effect of evapotranspiration is minimal. In general, areas with more impervious surface can be hotter than rural areas nearby. Termed the urban heat island effect, this phenomena can increase annual mean daytime temperature of a city by 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit relative to rural areas nearby. City nighttime temperatures can be increased as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit (EPA).

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Impervious surface is represented in black and pervious surface in white. The percentage of impervious surface within the project site is similar to that of the adjacent neighborhoods but less than neighborhoods more than half a mile away.

The demolished cotton bale storage building, parking and vacant lots and the Family Dollar building make up most of the impervious surface within the study site.

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Implications Benefits of managing the urban heat island effect include decreasing temperatures and air pollution. Cooler summer temperatures benefit public health and lower the economic cost and environmental impact resulting from fans and air conditioning and the associated generation of CO2 produced. Older adults tend to be less mobile and are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. Children are vulnerable to the effects of air pollution due to their small size and developing respiratory systems. The urban heat island effect can aggravate asthma and lung disease caused by ozone and smog. In addition, greater impervious surface areas cause higher volumes of stormwater runoff to flow from a site. Stormwater runoff carries with it contaminants encountered on impervious surfaces and may deliver polluted water if not filtered or absorbed on route. In addition, the raised temperatures of runoff entering nearby water bodies can affect aquatic life, like coldwater river fish species. Parking lots, vacant lots and the back of the Family Dollar building form vast gaps between the buildings that make the street feel desolate and unoccupied.

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Renewing an Urban Edge

Impervious Surfaces Observations

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Implications

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Lower Front Street is oriented east to west and recieves full southern exposure. There are a few shaded areas in the project focus area, including full shade under seven trees along the street bordering the mid-block vacant lot and partial shade north of the mill entrance buildings along the canal, along the south side of the street at the back of the Family Dollar building, and in front of the historic mill apartment buildings.

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Quick/ Frequent Traffic

Cabotville Mill

Cars move from east to west through Lower Front Street. Traffic moves more quickly through the east side of the site than the west side. Much of the traffic entering the site turns down Cabot Street, leaving fewer cars moving through the west side of the site. There are sidewalks only along the southern side of Lower Front Street. Sidewalks on Depot Street and Springfield Street end when they reach the north side of Lower Front Street. There are no crosswalks at the intersections of Cabot Street and Springfield Street. The crosswalk at Front Street is faded and offset making it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians on the sidewalk’s edge. Along Lower Front Street there is only one entrance into the Cabotville Mill Complex. Aside from the mill entrance there are no other designated to paths that lead to the canal. However, depressions in the vegetation growing on the demolished building site indicate the desire lines formed by people moving to the canal. These lines lead to bridges that go over the canal.

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Traffic moves quickly through the site, creating a hazard for pedestrians. Most of the traffic uses Lower Front Street as a throughway to downtown rather than a destination. The street lacks sidewalks and crosswalks. Without a crosswalk across busy Cabot Street, pedestrians traveling from the east on Lower Front Street may be diverted away from the project site. The lack of sidewalks on the north side create a situation that does not invite pedestrians along the mill buildings. The sole entrance to the mill building limits pedestrian access along the canal. As shown by desire lines, people seek access along and across the canal. Designs should provide people with increased access to the canal.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Observations

Davitt Bridge (Springfield Street)

Access and Circulation

Sidewalks are on the south side of Lower Front Street, but not the north side.

The northern sidewalk ends at the intersection of Front Street and Depot Street.

A desire line through brush leads to a bridge over the canal.

The uniquely detailed Cabotville gate provides the only designated entry into the complex.

The corner of Cabot and Lower Front Street is large and lacks a crosswalk.

Cars getting off of the Davitt Bridge stream toward Cabot Street.

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Observations

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Hydrology Cabotville Mill

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Much of the water on the site is not able to infiltrate into the terrestrial system because it is directed toward stormwater catch basins and the canal. There is no collection of roof water, which could be used to irrigate plants or be integrated into graywater systems. Most of the street water on site flows untreated through storm mains and into the canal, which flows back to the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers. Water collects pollutants from the street, such as petrochemicals, heavy metals, road salt, and fertilizer, which can degrade the health of aquatic systems. The road can warm stormwater which, when moved into the aquatic system, can raise the base temperature of the rivers, altering the habitat of aquatic and riparian species. The catch basins that connect to combined sewer systems mix street water with human effluent. During high precipitation events, stormwater mains direct this combined stormwater and sewage to the Connecticut River. Combined sewer water poses similar problems to stormwater, with additional ecosystem nitrification and human health concerns, including exposure to increased levels of E. coli bacteria.

Rooftop Flow Stormwater main Sewer main Catch basin Outfall Combined Sewer/Stormwater 500

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Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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Stormwater on the site flows in a north and northwesterly direction. Stormwater from roofs on the southern side of Lower Front Street flows onto the street. On the northern side of Lower Front Street, roof water is directed into the canal and toward the street. Water on the street is directed toward catch basins that line the northern side of the street. Five catch basins along Lower Front Street pipe water directly into the canal on the eastern side of Lower Front Street via an outfall. Stormwater mains on the western side of the site flow northwest and release water into an outfall located in the canal underneath the I-391 overpass. Two stormwater catch basins north of the Family Dollar shopping plaza direct water into a sewer main, which connects with a series of sewer mains and a stormwater main, in a combined sewer system. Water flows out of an outfall located in the western bend of the canal. The closest mains to this outfall are sewer mains, but there is no recorded connection. Water from the canal is directed to the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers.

The easternmost outfall releases stormwater from the street into the canal.

Roof water from the Family Dollar shopping plaza pours down the wall behind the building

Stormwater basins collect water along the north side of Lower Front Street.

Rain water falls from the roof and into the canal.

The outfall at the western bend in the canal releases stormwater to the Connecticut River.

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Chicopee River

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Flow of water in canal. Study site

Leaves and pollen accumulate along the sluice gate.

Powerhouse discharge releases into the Chicopee River.

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Water is directed toward the turbines under the Cabotville Mill to generate electricity. This contributes to the stagnant water conditions. It is unclear if flow to the turbine and to the western part of the canal can both be maintained. Stormwater entering the canal may often be polluted and ultimately enters the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers, threatening riparian and aquatic habitats. Instead of being directed to the canal, stormwater could be infiltrated into the ground as a resource to irrigate vegetation in the study site and reduce pollution entering the rivers. Barriers like fences and debris keep people away from the canal, preventing them from visually connecting with a unique historic resource and a potential destination.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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Chicopee has one remaining canal, running east to west, south of the three former downtown mills. Water from the Chicopee River feeds the canal from the northeast via a head gate. A sluice gate in the canal obstructs the flow of water so that it enters a passage underneath the Cabotville Mill, which feeds three hydroelectric turbines operated by Nautilus LLC. After water passes through the turbines, it flows back into the Chicopee River (Marsili). The water in the canal stagnates west of the sluice gate. Water does not constantly flow here due to a concrete impoundment. The stagnant water in this portion insulates utility lines at the base of the canal. Nautilus LLC periodically opens the sluice gate to clear built up debris and ice. The canal curves to the north after this impoundment and steeply descends (Marsili). In addition to water flowing into the canal from the Chicopee River, stormwater from the street and roofs enters the canal. Stormwater catch basins collect water from the street and divert it into the canal via two outfalls. The eastern outfall directs water from at least five basins into the portion of the canal that feeds the hydroelectric generator. The western outfall allows stormwater to flow into the canal just after the impoundment. This part of the canal directs water underneath I-391 and through the southern portion of Delta Park. The stormwater overflow and periodic sluice water enters the Connecticut River through Delta Park. Untreated water from the outfalls flows to the Connecticut River. People can walk along the north side of the canal. Fences and rubble along the south side of the canal limit access. The canal can be viewed from within the mill complex and along the north side of the canal, but mill buildings, fences, and vegetation block views of the canal from Lower Front Street.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Canalysis

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Although impermeable surfaces cover most of the site, plants thrive in some niches providing ecosystem services.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Vegetation I-391

Observations Maintained lawn grows in three distinct locations: along the western edge of the canal, within row house yards, and in front of the westernmost mill buildings that line the road. The most common plant life found throughout the site are herbaceous and small woody urban wild plants. These plants thrive in areas significantly difficult to access and manage and thrive in compacted and drought-prone soils as well as on rubble. These conditions are found on the site of the demolished building, the eastern parcel, and in and along the canal. Some shrubs and vines also spread within these neglected and difficult-to-access areas. Woody growth protrudes from the stone walls of the western portions of the canal. Common wild urban plants include Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), Black swallowwort (Cynanchum louisae), mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), rubus species, and White mulberry (Morus alba). Seven black locust trees grow along the sidewalk between Dwight and Perkins Street. One black locust tree grows near the northwest bend in the canal. The steep slope east of the Lyman building exemplifies the most treed area within the study site. This semi-wild urban strip contains maples, oaks, locust trees, and wild apples.

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The wild, weedy plant types found throughout most of the site indicate a lack of maintenance on the site, and recent human disturbance. Some of these plants, like Japanese knotweed, are considered invasive and may require management to limit spreading. The wild urban plants could inform future plantings that fit within the intense urban landscape. The site does not exhibit many long-lived deep-rooted plants which would infiltrate water. Stormwater is largely not integrated into plant life on the site. The general lack of trees on the site creates an area of high solar exposure. Woody plants growing out of the canal walls could cause long-term damage to the canal structure. These plants should be removed and the infrastructure on and around the canal should be upgraded to prevent further plant growth in the canal walls.

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Rubus sp. dominate an edge of the canal, a difficult place to reach.

Herbaceous plants grow over the site of the demolished building, collecting trash at the road’s edge.

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Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) trees grow along Lower Front Street, providing midday shade.

City of Chicopee Planning Department

Trees emerge from the spaces between stones in the canal.

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Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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Observations

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• The eastern edge, which forms an entrance to the site, is very dangerous for pedestrians crossing from the east to the site. • The absence of sidewalks on the northern side of the street deters people from walking to or near the mills and canal, which could be potential destinations. • Pedestrians walking along Lower Front Street are exposed to the elements due to the gaps along the streetscape. • In warm weather the impervious surfaces increase air temperatures to uncomfortable levels. • Stormwater does not infiltrate into the ground. • Untreated, and sometimes contaminated, stormwater enters the Connecticut and Chicopee Rivers, diminishing water quality.

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The parking lot is visible through the Black locust trees (Robinia pseudoacacia).

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The western end of the parking lot is an underutilized asphalt gap with high solar potential.

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Weeds collect litter on the site of the demolished mill building.

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The parking lot behind the Portuguese club is large and often empty.

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North of the Family Dollar plaza, along Lower Front Street, is an exposed asphalt gap.

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Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

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• High speed traffic on the eastern edge of the site is funneled onto the easternmost section of Lower Front Street and up Cabot Street. • There are no sidewalks on the north side of Lower Front Street in the right-of-way along the canal and mill properties. • Gaps created by vacant lots, parking lots, and the back side of the Family Dollar shopping complex divide the site’s more active areas. • Unmanaged wild urban plants are located throughout the site though diversity and shade are limited. • Stormwater flows to catch basins along the street where it is piped to outfalls along the canal and eventually enters the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Summary Analysis

9/17


The first design phase reconfigures the street to accommodate two-way vehicular traffic and safer pedestrian access. Many of the strategies that improve traffic patterns also provide opportunities to implement green infrastructure. The street becomes more porous and planted with street trees. Asphalt is removed and curbs extended along the street’s north side to create biodetention basins that collect water from the street and building roofs. This design of Lower Front Street applies the strategies developed for Dwight and Perkins Streets in the 2017 Chicopee Green Streets plan (Cohen & Kristiansen).

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Single-loaded parking replaces street parking along the front of the mill businesses.

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The sidewalk behind Family Dollar plaza is pulled back to create space for an infiltration basin, which softens the edge of this asphalt expanse. A fence in the back of the plaza distinguishes private property and can open to allow trucks to access the loading dock.

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The corner curbs at Perkins Street are extended to make room for biodetention basins that collect runoff from the roof of the Family Dollar building, reducing the amount of water entering the combined sewer system.

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The asphalt parking lot is replaced with turf to provide a porous space that allows for temporary events and space to play. Two new crosswalks lead from Dwight Street to Canal Park. This new park fills the gap between buildings on the north side of the street. Canal Park provides space for shaded play and relaxation (see Sheet 16).

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Trees and understory vegetation along the southern edge of the urban wild stabilize the steep slope while extending habitat for wildlife.

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Large trees along the northern edge of the Portuguese Club parking lot shade the sidewalk and new on-street parking spots on the north side of the street while intercepting stormwater.

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London plane trees planted at the corner of Depot Street intercept rainwater and create a grand entry to the green corridor of Lower Front Street

Existing

Proposed

Pedestrians can now cross Lower Front Street from the corner of Perkins Street to stroll in the shade of an allée of trees.

City of Chicopee Planning Department

4

10

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Family Dollar

Design Phase I

8

A’

5

B

2

ins

Sidewalks on all sides of the Cabot Street intersection are widened into the streets to reduce the distance to cross the streets and give pedestrians a safe waiting position visible to cars. In addition, narrowing the street helps reduce vehicle speed. Biodetention basins in the curb extensions infiltrate stormwater and create an inviting pedestrian experience.

4

1

Cabot Street

The street width is reduced to 22 feet from the eastern entrance of the site to Dwight Street. At this width, buses can still travel on the street and there is now adequate room for a mixed-use path and tree-lined biodetention basins on the north side. The curb extends to accommodate a north-south pedestrian crossing and an east-west crossing, which links back to the Chicopee Canal Walk.

A

Dw

3

3

k Per

2

To the Chicopee Canal Walk

Renewing an Urban Edge

1

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Design Phase I - Green Integration

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180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Phase I Streetscapes Existing conditions and Phase I streetscapes are compared at three section cross-cuts. Refer to sheet 10/17 to see where these sections were taken.

Phase 1

Sidewalk

Family Dollar

Mill Building

Lawn

Lower Front Street

Sidewalk

10

20

0

Mill Building

Section B - B’

0

10

Lawn

Path

Feet

Turf Field

20

0 10 20 Feet

Lower Front Street

Sidewalk

Park Grassy Slope

Basin

Row House

Path

Sidewalk

A rubble meadow fills the space where the demolished building once stood.

Sidewalk

20

People walk and bike, separated from cars, on the multi-use path between the mill building and vegetated basin. The once under-used parking lot is now a turf field used for recreation.

Row House

Canal

Canal

Section C - C’

Lower Front Street

10

Section B - B’

A wide single-lane road parallels the row of locust trees. A few cars are parked in a large asphalt parking lot.

Rubble and Weeds

Family Dollar

Feet

Parking Lot

Lower Front Street

Lower Front Street Basin

Feet

Cars drive on a 22-foot two-way-wide road between two vegetated basins. People travel along a multi-use path between a single loaded parking lot and a vegetated basin.

Basin

Mill Building

Basin

20

Section A - A’

Cars drive by the poorly marked parking lot next to the wide two-lane road.

0

Path

Parking Lot

10

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Lower Front Street

0

Feet

Section C - C’

The flat lawn of the park has been extended and is a great place for a game of frisbee while the grassy slope down to the canal offers quieter spots to relax.

Feet

City of Chicopee Planning Department

Section A - A’

Parking Lot

20

Sidewalk

Mill Building

10

Renewing an Urban Edge

0

Phase I Sections

Existing Conditions

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180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Stormwater Management Guidelines Effective stormwater management strategies must match the particular site conditions of the street. “If...then...” Below are several common streetscape conditions that exist on Lower Front Street.

Choose tree shapes to maximize canopy cover.

If utility lines are present, then the mature height of trees cannot exceed 20 feet to prevent trees growing into the lines. This limits the types of woody plants that can be grown in these areas. Burying utilities may be an expensive alternative, but would allow for larger trees to line the streets.

If overhead and underground utilities are not present and the area is free of infrastructure that could be damaged by roots, then large trees are a good match to provide greater shade and ecosystem services. Protect existing trees during construction.

Leaves absorb some air pollutants Reduces soil erosion because leaves slow rainfall before it hits ground and roots hold soil Provide wildlife, including pollinator, habitat Shades impervious surface

Infiltrates and stores water through root and soil systems

If utility poles stand less than a foot from the road’s edge and street width cannot be reduced, then place the utility poles within infiltration basins and cut curve back to create on-street parking. The area directly around the pole can be vegetated.

Urban Street Tree and Biodetention Plant Recommendations

Ecosystem Services of Urban Trees Mitigates climate change by sequestering carbon (CO2)

water enters from street through curb cut

Provides cooler air temperatures in summer because water is returned to air through evaporation and transpiration

Directly shades and cools buildings, decreasing energy costs associated with cooling

Benefits the physical, behavioral, and emotional health of people in the community

(National Tree Benefits Calculator)

This plan recommends current Chicopee tree-spacing regulations be changed from 50 feet to 25 feet. Trees within the designs have been planted at this closer distance because urban stormwater systems function best with dense vegetation and a continuous street tree canopy provides greater shade to pedestrians. Urban tree species and stormwater system vegetation selection should consider tree height and shape and a plant’s ability to tolerate heat, sun, salt, air pollutants, frequent disturbance, and soil alkalinity (NorthCreek Nurseries). In addition, trees can be considered for their particular ability to remove air pollutants from urban air. Kennen and Kirkwood, referencing a 2005 study by Takashi, identified four broadleafed deciduous species as good candidates for removing nitrogen dioxide: Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica), Black poplar (Populus nigra), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and Oshima Cherry (Prunus lannesiana). Japanese pagoda and Black locust are also identified in the Cornell Woody Plants Database as salt tolerant and able to withstand periods of dry weather. Eastern Sycamore and Honey Locust, both thriving on and near the project site, are also included on the Cornell list. Consult the Woody Plants Database for additional urban tree recommendations.

If stormwater catch basins are in the road, then vegetated infiltration basins can be built around the opening. The catch basin grate should be reset at the highest point of the basin so that water can infiltrate and overflow into the stormwater system during a high precipitation event .

Some Tree, Shrub, and Herbaceous Plant Suggestions Trees • Mulberry, Red Maple, Locust, Sycamore Shrubs • Service Berry (Amelanchier) • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Herbaceous Plants • Blue Grama “blonde ambition” (Boutelous gracilis) • Solar Cascade (Solidago shortii) • Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius) • Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) • Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

elevated catch basin

City of Chicopee Planning Department

extended curb

Renewing an Urban Edge

Sycamore

Stormwater Management

Effective stormwater management responses are explained here and appear in streetscape designs on Sheets 10 and 11. Some plant species recommended for stormwater management are presented below.

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The second design phase focuses on making destinations along Lower Front Street that provide space for different activities. The design also expands the pedestrian and bicyclist path system and stormwater green infrastructure.

See Sheet 15

7

2

Asphalt is removed south of the urban wild strip and the area is vegetated with more trees, which capture rainwater and provide habitat for wildlife.

2 t 16

See Shee

A new parking lot provides spaces for visitors to the parks and businesses.

5 See Sheet 14

0

1

5

6

7

8

In the once-vacant lot a community garden draws people together to grow food and build community.

250

500

Feet

3

A bioretention basin south of the community garden infiltrates runoff from the property to the south which may retain its impervious surface in the form or a parking lot or infill housing.

A ten-foot wide boardwalk spans the back of the eastern mill buildings, creating a path over the canal which opens to businesses along the back of the building.

A grassy terraced amphitheater along the canal, connecting paths from Lower Front Street into the Cabotville Mill complex, is a destination for events.

People walk along the canal boardwalk, visiting businesses along the back of the mill and watching the water flow.

City of Chicopee Planning Department

4

A park made up of three wooden platforms overlooks the canal and is a new destination between the Lyman and Cabotville Mills.

Renewing an Urban Edge

3

4

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

The continuation of the Chicopee Canal Walk arcs to the north side of the canal, following it north toward Delta Park.

8

Design Phase II

1

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Design Phase II - Destinations

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t ree t S nt

A

An active community garden expresses civic energy at work, connecting people in neighborhoods through the empowerment found in growing food. Growing gardens in reclaimed spaces like underused and vacant lots can transform neglected space into spaces of community care.

ro erF w Lo

Universal Accessibility k Per ins

Here, the current parking lot is converted into a community garden space offering over a third of an acre of space to grow food. The site has full southern exposure, which provides ample sunlight required for growing most garden plants. The site will require the removal of asphalt and covering of the urban soil to prevent potential contaminants from being exposed and reduce human contact with these soils. Raised beds should be used in this garden so that people do not come into contact with contaminated soil.

Stre

Garden Space

et

Community members have expressed their desires for a garden that would be accessible to people with physical disabilities. Some considerations for accessibility include pathway materials and garden bed styles. The following images are suggestions for creating a garden that includes people of all abilities into the garden.

Vacant Lot

Ro w

An example of path design that is wheelchair accessible and provide drainage.

us

Dw

ig ht

Ho

Compacted earth

e

St

re e

A’

A biodetention basin installed south of the garden captures and stores water, replaces asphalt, and create a barrier that would intercept polluted stormwater from entering the garden. A buffer of groundcover between the basins and the garden would create further protection against water mobile pollutants in the soil from entering the garden.

6” of pea sized gravel

t

Ro w

et

Ho

e

ng

a ch x E

us

e

e Str

0

New Tree

250

500

Feet

Community Garden

3” of 1/4” minus schist rock

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Biodetention Basin Parking Lot

A double-loaded parking lot on the west end provides parking for 20 vehicles; two of these spots are handicapped accessible. Sidewalks around the parking lot lead from the sidewalk to the garden path. Behind the curtain is a detention basin that collects water from the parking lot. Trees south and east shade the parking lot and reduce hot afternoon sun in the garden, while intercepting stormwater. These partial-shade areas could also create cooler gathering and rest areas for gardeners.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Community Garden

A

Lower Front Street

A’

Community Garden

Lawn

Biodetention Basin

Exchange Street

Three sided raised beds with leg space beneath allows for 180 degrees of garden space.

Angled beds that stand at 2.5’ make it easy to reach plants and soil.

Renewing an Urban Edge

Fence

City of Chicopee Planning Department

Entrance

14/17


180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Design: Sunken Amphitheater A sunken amphitheater anchors the eastern end of Lower Front Street. The bottom of the space is six feet below the grade of the street, offering respite from downtown vehicle traffic. Vegetation lines both sides of the mixed pedestrian and bike path casting shadows along the path and the entrance to the amphitheater while also infiltrating stormwater. Grassy terraces oriented toward the stage with medium trees accommodate shaded seating and descent into the amphitheater. An eight-foot-wide ADA accessible ramp descends along the amphitheater allowing for wheelchair access to the terraces and the canal look-out below. Stairs along the building to the west connect with the amphitheater terraces and lead to the Cabotville Mill Complex boardwalk. A wooden bridge crosses over the canal, connecting the Cabotville Mill parking area to the canal boardwalk and the sunken amphitheater.

2

Brownstone steps lead from the bridge to the street. Nine foot long landings join with the terrace steps, providing multiple access points into the amphitheater.

3

A 25’x40’ foot wooden platform along the canal accommodates space for performance as well as space to observe the flowing waters of the canal.

Parking Lot

1

4

One trap-rock gravel path runs down the amphitheater at a 5% grade which allows for wheelchair access to the terraced seating areas and the bridge & boardwalk below.

Canal 2

5

Medium-sized trees line the street and path in a 10-footwide infiltration basin. The trees shade the entry into the amphitheater.

6

A thick massing of flowering shrubs cover the steep slope leading down to the canal, stabilizing the steep slope, capturing rainwater, and adding a visual separation from traffic on the bridge.

3 4

6

7

7

A London plain tree mark the entrance onto Lower Front Street, shading the amphitheater and capturing stormwater.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

1

Sunken Amphitheater

A

0 A’

Lower Front Street

Basin

Sidewalk

10

20

Feet

Path Sunken Amphitheater

Parking Lot Canal

Cabotville Mill

Renewing an Urban Edge

Section A - A’

Lower Front Street

City of Chicopee Planning Department

5

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Canal Park is along Lower Front Street’s western half, between the north side of the street and the canal. The greens of the park’s canopy trees complement and frame the warm, red brick backdrop of the Cabotville and Lyman Mill Buildings to the north and east. A tree allée shades the sidewalk along the park’s street edge. Park vegetation absorbs rainwater from soil at its roots and returns this moisture to the air through evapotranspiration. This process reduces the urban heat island effect. Green spaces, in which to run and play with others, benefit the social, behavioral, and emotional health of children. Similarly, adults can meet others or enjoy solitude in the park. Cyclists stream through the park on a bike trail connecting the Chicopee Canal Walk in the east to Delta Park and the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway in the west. All paths, including the bike trail and ramps to platforms, meet ADA standards, making Canal Park universally accessible.

180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Design: Canal Park Urban Wild

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ath se P 6

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To Delta Park 3 2

Canal Park

lti-U

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Large canopy trees shade the area between the parking lot and Depot Street and screen the park from the highway above.

2

A parking lot with eighteen spaces incorporates central green medians, porous pavement, and trees to absorb stormwater runoff from the lot.

3

4

5

6

Seven parking spots on the street provide access to the western building and the park. Trees planted across the street shade these spots. The western building is potentially re-purposed as a cafe and youth center or other destinations that draw people to this area. Activities can spill out of the building to decks on both sides.

7

The playground on the east side is another activity destination. Sightlines under the trees from the east deck and sidewalk allow parents and others to keep eyes on children.

A long, narrow lawn forms a corridor of green open space within corridors of street, sidewalk, canal and mill buildings. The lawn is graded to create a gradual 2% slope to allow for drainage down to the canal. The one-sixth-acre lawn is not big enough for large team sports but is enough space for children to run around.

9

The lawn’s northern edge is graded to form a grassy slope down to the canal. Turf grass is adequate to stabilize the 20% slope while additional shrubs stabilize the steeper slope by the retaining wall on the northeast corner of the western building. Scattered trees provide shade for visitors lounging on the slope.

10

The bike trail crosses the canal on an angled bridge that creates a gentle curve rather than two sharp dangerous turns. The urban wild area can be seen from the bike path. This diverse community of plants, including wild grapes and apple trees, provides wildlife habitat. It has been allowed to expand, providing valuable ecosystem services in addition to stormwater infiltration. Visitors bathe in sun on platforms in the east or cool off under the shade of trees growing through openings in the boards. Canal water moves slowly here and can stagnate. Like the grassy slope to the west, on the platforms visitors can enjoy proximity to the canal without getting too close to the water.

Residents of the neighborhood gather at a one-third-acre community garden (see Sheet 14). This is a space for growing food, building social connections within the neighborhood, and hosting events for the wider Chicopee community, like a farmer’s market.

Renewing an Urban Edge

8

City of Chicopee Planning Department

1

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

8

16/17


180 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

References Cohen, E. & Kristiansen, Ø. Chicopee Green Streets: Green Infrastructure Designs for the Industrial Downtown. The Conway School, Winter 2017.

Connecticut River Walk & Bikeway. 2014. Digital Image. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. June 2015. Connections: Chicopee’s Open Space & Recreation Plan. Chicopee Department of Planning & Development/Department of Parks & Recreation. April 2015. Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F.E.M. Could exposure to everyday green spaces help treat ADHD? Evidence from children’s play settings. Applied Psychology: Health and Wellbeing. 3(3), 281-303, 2011.

Food Research Atlas. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. May 18, 2017. www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx James P., Hart J.E., Banay R.F., Laden F. Exposure to greenness and mortality in a nationwide prospective cohort study of women. Enviro Health Perspect. 124:1344-1352, 2016.

Marsili, Kim. Station Manager. Essential Power Massachusetts. Personal communication, June 2017.

Woody Plants Database. Cornell University, 2017. www.woodyplants.cals.cornell.edu EPA. Criteria Air Pollutants. • Nitrogen Dioxide (www.epa.gov/no2-pollution) January, 2017 • Ozone (www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution) June, 2017 • Particulate Matter (www.epa.gov/pm-pollution) May, 2017 Map Data Environmental Justice (Sheet 3) Data Sources: Google Maps Data Created by C. Dwyer-Huppert • Food access locations Data Sources: Massachusetts Office of Geographic Information Information (MassGIS) • Hydrography 1:25000 • Environmental Justice Populations (2010 U.S. Census) • Impervious Surfaces • Open Space and Recreation Solar Exposure and Impervious Surface (Sheet 4) Data Sources: MassGIS • Impervious Surfaces Hydrology (Sheet 5) Data Sources: City of Chicopee Department of Public Works • Stormwater Mains • Catch basins • Outfalls • Combined sewer/stormwater • Contours (1 foot) Data Created by B. Covino • Waterflow arrows Photography All photographs were taken by the authors.

City of Chicopee Planning Department

NorthCreek Nurseries. Urban Stormwater Systems handout. www.northcreeknurseries.com

Renewing an Urban Edge

National Tree Benefits Calculator. www.treebenefits.com

References

Morrissette, Kimberly. Chicopee Community Gardens organizer. Personal communication, June 2017.

Prepared By: Ben Covino and Catie Dwyer-Huppert

Kennen, K. & Kirkwood N. Phyto: Principles and resources for site remediation and landscape design. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group: New York, 2015.

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Profile for The Conway School

A Vision for Lower Front Street - Spring 2017  

The City of Chicopee recognizes the importance of this street as a corridor to connect nearby areas planned for revitalization and existing...

A Vision for Lower Front Street - Spring 2017  

The City of Chicopee recognizes the importance of this street as a corridor to connect nearby areas planned for revitalization and existing...