Business View Civil and Municipal | September 2022

129 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 9 W e all need a little space sometimes. Space that provides unfettered freedom to think and to tinker. The small city of Easthampton, Massachusetts, prides itself on providing those spaces for its residents. Space to live. Space to grow. Space to create. Easthampton is a former mill town. When the mills closed in the mid-20th century, a new industry emerged here: tool and die, along with small precision machines. This made Easthampton a hub for manufacturing. It also made it a mecca for artists, taking advantage of both the old mill spaces and the scrap metal for art. “It’s a great combination of natural resources and innovation, as far as small machine and precision machining go,” Mayor Nicole LaChapelle explains. “There’s a long tradition here of that, as well as making space… it’s uncanny how many different people are involved, whether their family has been here for four generations or they’ve been here for four weeks. A wide variety of backgrounds can make space in Easthampton and feel like it is a home and feel like it is a place where folks will listen and take notice of what you’re doing in your space. It really brings a perspective, a continuum of voices and creativity and industry together in a very small space. We’re just 13 square miles.” Easthampton is located in the Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by larger cities like Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and Northampton. “We’re plum in the middle,” says LaChapelle. “We have easy access to I-91 and the Mass Turnpike. You can get to Boston and Albany in maybe an hour and a half. It becomes a place where people can make things possible for themselves, whether they’re a visitor, a business or a resident.” Now home to 16,000 residents, Easthampton is a thriving cultural center, with the old mills serving EASTHAMPTON , M Space making and place making