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East Spring Street

“The green stormwater retention project right here on Spring Street will help the village preserve the pristine beauty of Glen Falls and allow the village to decrease the amount of stormwater that goes into the sewage treatment plant, all the while improving the quality of life, both for residents and those who come here to visit and shop”

Senator Charles Schumer

THE STORY OF THE VILLAGE OF WILLIAMSVILLE CANNOT BE PROPERLY TOLD WITHOUT INCLUDING MENTION OF THE MILL. In 1811 the Mill became the center of industry for the Village of Williamsville, and 200 years later the Mill is once again at the heart of the Village’s story. After decades of neglect, this historic industrial area along East Spring Street has become a much beloved Village Center through economic redevelopment and green infrastructure.

The introduction of green infrastructure (GI) allows East Spring Street to have a pedestrian focus for the first time ever. Greenspaces between public and private properties, permeable sidewalks/parking lanes, and large shade trees planted in engineered soils all work together to capture and filter stormwater. These GI interventions help strengthen the visual connection to the adjacent Glen Falls Park as well as create an inviting plaza suitable for everyday retail and weekend farmer’s market/seasonal festival use. The space now balances people and automobiles while celebrating Williamsville’s original industrial center.

Because the project area had languished for decades, it was important that the community be part of creating a new vision for the Mill and East Spring Street. After some discussion, Village leadership created a new temporary streetscape design which became the focal point of a weeklong festival that allowed residents and visitors to “try a new design on for size”. Over the course of this festival the automobile dominated street and parking lots were transformed into a pedestrian friendly streetscape and plaza replete with opportunities for the community to engage and respond to the new design before it was even constructed.

As the design moved forward a libaility was identified — stormwater run-off, would be its strongest opportunity for redevelopment. Through New York State (NYS) Environmental Facilities Corporation and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, green infrastructure became the driving force behind bringing the community’s vision of “a pedestrianfocused Village Center at the historic Mill” to life. Joy Kuebler’s Try It On activites led to greater community support and interest for the project. It received nearly $3 million in funding to capture and filter stormwater run-off through sidewalk planters and permeable pavers installed on the new pedestrian plaza at the Mill It also later received an additional $250,000 to support the finishing touches on this newly imagined place. In addition, the design included the elimination of erosion and sedimentation through the innovative
use of a living wall system to both stabilize the escarpment and filter stormwater.

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