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New RiverCulture director hired

TURNERS FALLS — There’s a new hand on the wheel of the Turners Falls RiverCulture program, the village booster project dedicated to the downtown cultural and arts economy.

The Montague Board of Selectmen awarded Suzanne LoManto a two-year contract as director, a 25-hour-a-week position at $25 per hour.

Town Administrator Frank Abbondanzio said a selection committee composed of himself, the town planner, a Montague Business Association representative and selectman Michael Nelson recommended LoManto after interviewing seven candidates from an initial pool of more than two dozen applicants.

LoManto, lately of Amherst and Holyoke, began work this month and is planning for the next big event, the third annual “Wonderful Night in Turners Falls” Dec. 19. The program won its latest round of state grant funding in August with a proposal to continue the Third Thursday Turners Falls evening events and to decorate an unspecified vacant storefront.

The third Thursday events represented a new direction for the program this year, modeled in part after the annual Wonderful Night downtown shopping event. Monthly during the warmer months, the T3F events were designed to provide a regular draw to downtown businesses, rather than the occasional large events the program has launched or supported in the past. RiverCulture is notably responsible for the annual Block Party on Avenue A, which the program launched before handing it off to a succession of new directors.

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