On a recent tour through New Hampshire’s First District, Congressman Chris Pappas dropped in for a hard-hat tour to see the renovation underway at Makers Mill on Bay Street. The building is undergoing major construction that will transform it into Carroll County’s first community makerspace and vocation hub with a mission to support workforce development, career pathways, and community building.
The congressman was guided on the tour by Makers Mill Executive Director Josh Arnold along with Denise Roy-Palmer from WEDCO, board members Matt Trahan and Dave Bolduc, Assistant Director Carol Holyoake, and construction managers Austyn Shea and Rich Frizzell from Milestone Construction.
Of particular interest to congressman Pappas is the role Makers Mill will play in the state’s workforce development: partnering with community colleges and technical schools to provide the education, tools, and mentorship for people to learn new skills or upskill as they transition careers.
Pappas serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and two key pieces of bipartisan infrastructure legislation that he helped craft recently passed a final Committee vote. “I have been focused on crafting infrastructure legislation that addresses America’s urgent needs including repairing our roads and bridges, revitalizing our water infrastructure, and ensuring resiliency, and I’m pleased these landmark bills have cleared this hurdle with key provisions that I fought for including active transportation, commuter rail, and addressing PFAS contamination,” said the congressman.
After taking in the scope of programs that Makers Mill will offer, including woodwork, metalwork and welding, digital fabrication and computer technology, Pappas acknowledged the important role the makerspace plays in providing a skilled workforce, and noted that without a skilled workforce, the infrastructure plans he is working on would not be possible.
After over three years of planning, preparing, and fundraising, Phase I of the Makers Mill construction project started just a few weeks ago. This milestone was made possible by funding from a vast array of public and private contributions, including grants from Northern Borders Regional Commission, USDA, Community Development Finance Authority, NH Charitable Foundation, and many local donor-advised funds and gifts.
With building renovation now underway at Makers Mill, the fundraising focus has shifted from “bricks and mortar” to raising money for tools and equipment for the various work shops so they are stocked ready to run programs once the last nail has been driven home and the doors open. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to shift gears like this,” said Arnold. “Fundraising for tools makes it feel so much more real than fundraising for bricks and mortar!” The organization’s “Tool-Kitty Campaign” will be running through the summer to help ensure it is ready to hit the ground running as soon as the contractors complete renovations this Fall.