Making a movement

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan speaks with TwinState MakerSpaces Assistant Director Josh Bushueff and TwinState MakerSpaces President Steve Goldsmith on Monday ahead of the Claremont MakerSpace ground-making event at the Sawtooth Building. — TIMOTHY LAROCHE

Officials praise future Claremont MakerSpace as construction begins

CLAREMONT — When TwinState MakerSpaces President Steve Goldsmith placed his $18.42 bid for the Sawtooth Mill, he had new life in mind for downtown Claremont. Now, with work underway at the future site of the Claremont MakerSpace, the resurrection of the city’s maker movement seems more promising than ever.

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With no ground to break in the former mill building at 46 Main St., the MakerSpace held a ground-”making” event on Monday on the rugged gravel covering the interior. City and state officials and local makers came out for event — with only 25 chairs, more than half of the attendees stood for the duration of the larger-than-expected ground-making.

“This space will be the creative hub of the Upper Valley,” Goldsmith said. “It will be the center of the maker community that we have been building here over the past few years.”

In as little time as a week or two, work is expected to pick up in the building after almost five years of suspense in the buildup. TwinState MakerSpaces, the company behind the Claremont MakerSpace, will renovate the vacant mill building — a step that Goldsmith said is just one part of the economic revitalization of the city.

“As the economy changed and many jobs went elsewhere, this busy mill and this little thriving community, like so many in the region and in the Upper Valley, went into disuse,” Goldsmith said. “When the US transitioned from manufacturing to a service-based economy, we stopped making things. We stopped valuing creativity and innovation, and instead of teaching how to make things, we started teaching how to use things.”

Soon, after electrical wiring is installed and radiant heating pipes laid, concrete will cover the floors of the building. In keeping with the true maker-spirit, Goldsmith said a small group of the initial members will even have opportunity to help make the interior walls for the building.

Goldsmith said that the MakerSpace should be ready for a soft opening in late October or early November.

The building is also purposefully designed to encourage collaboration between the different makers in the space. With a metal shop, a woodshop, a wet room with sinks, an electrical room and even a jewelry workshop, there should be a little something for any creative individual.

“This space is purposefully designed to force interaction between the different people using the space,” Goldsmith said. “So the quilter is going to experiment with the electronics experimenter, the wood worker with the jewelry maker… a kind of cross pollination of trades.”

Already, figures across the region have seen the potential in the project. Rep. Ann Kuster has made several trips to the makerspace location to see the process. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen also wrote a statement in support of the project.

“The Claremont MakerSpace will be a cornerstone institution of the region, bringing people downtown and lifting up the city in new and exciting ways,” Shaheen said in her letter.

Sen. Maggie Hassan even toured the building with Goldsmith and Assistant Director Josh Bushueff before speaking at the event.

“If we unleash the talent and creative energy of each and every one of us, then all of a sudden, those skills come together with the collaboration we are talking about right here,” Hassan said of the project. “When that happens, we have new business ideas, we have creative energy, our economy takes off, grows, and we create jobs, and we continue to get stronger and stronger.”


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