By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2021 Issue
Recreation and culture in Claremont, NH play a vital role in improving community health, enhancing quality of life, promoting personal enrichment, preserving natural resources, providing access for all socio-economic groups and encouraging economic growth. Innovation and a creative spirit are alive and well in this thriving New England mill town.
Claremont is nestled in the Connecticut River Valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is a bustling town of full forward-thinking, cutting edge manufacturers and creative entrepreneurs.
The intersection of this historical and contemporary community can be found in the burgeoning arts district in Claremont’s City Center. The Historic Claremont Opera House, dedicated in 1897, is located in the Claremont City Hall Building. The style of the building is Italian Renaissance Revival. Many of the construction materials for the edifice came from the New England area. During the pandemic, parks and arts collaborated with offerings from the Claremont Opera House at local Arrowhead Recreation Center. Performances at Arrowhead allowed for social distancing, while also allowing people to enjoy music with the beautiful backdrop of Arrowhead Mountain.
Next to the Opera House is the new home for the Claremont Creative Center. West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts is redeveloping the old National Bank Building—which has been vacant for 25 years—to create a new facility that will provide a single, central location for West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts programs. The Claremont Creative Center will include performance and gallery spaces, an art studio, practice rooms, a screening room, recording facility and commercial kitchen. The project will provide strong economic benefit to the Claremont area through increased access to arts and culture, as well as the revitalization of Claremont’s City Center. WCCMA and The Claremont Creative Center will be engines in the region’s creative economy. The Center will integrate a variety of income-producing spaces and technologies to support creative initiatives. The facility will provide jobs in the immediate region, doubling the Claremont arts staff employment for non-public school employees.
Shared work and studio spaces will incubate and develop creative businesses. Ancillary spending will impact local businesses: Americans for the Arts reports that for every $1 spent on an arts event, $18 in related spending occurs at local restaurants, stores and for services such as child care. Regional employers report that they are dependent on a thriving cultural scene for employee recruitment and retention.
Where will all these entrepreneurs and artists live and dine? Again, we direct your attention to Claremont’s City Center. The Monadnock Mill, which stands along the picturesque Sugar River will soon be home to 83 market rate apartments in Claremont’s Historic Mill District. Construction is already in process as these apartments are slated to come online in the Spring of 2022. They’ll be ready in time for those new residents of Claremont to enjoy a stroll and enjoy the fruits of the “Rethink Pleasant Street” initiative. Pleasant Street, the main artery through the heart of Claremont’s City Center is transforming from a two-way truck route, to a one-way, walkable area for shopping and dining. Wider sidewalks will allow for more outdoor dining, benches and trees, to encourage a more social and relaxed atmosphere.
The Claremont MakerSpace on the edge of the City Center is providing an incubator space for hobbyists and entrepreneurs alike. Whether you’re an expert woodworker, budding quilter, dabbling in 3-D printing or a world-renowned sculptor, the MakerSpace welcomes makers of all ages and skill levels.
The goal for many of these creative members is to eventually move into their own store front in Claremont. The MakerSpace has offered more than 200 classes and events which saw over 750 participants.
Collaboration with dozens of regional businesses and community organizations, as well as launching an Artist-In-Residence Program and Veterans Scholarship Program, are just a few of the major accomplishments achieved in the past year in Claremont.
Every day, members from around the region are using the MakerSpace to put shape to their ideas, develop new business ventures, explore new technologies and learn new things. Claremont also boasts an incredible Community Center.
The Claremont Savings Bank Community Center is home to a 25-yard indoor pool, teaching area pool, elevated track, basketball courts, fitness facility, aerobics room, multi-function rooms, conference room, game room, shower and locker rooms and kitchen. Members of all ages and skill levels find opportunities to stay active. Recreation leagues are available for young and old alike.
Businesses both small and large enthusiastically support these initiatives. After all, who doesn’t love happy and healthy employees?
Discover the secret that many millennials in the region have already found. Claremont, New Hampshire is an amazing place to live, work, play and create!
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