Summit promotes creative economy efforts in Greenfield

  • From left, Rachael Katz, MJ Adams, Steven Goldsher and Linda McInerney were on the panel of a forum sponsored by the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee at the John Zon Community Center this week. The panelists discussed Greenfield’s growing creative economy. STAFF PHOTO/ANITA FRITZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/28/2019 11:50:27 PM

GREENFIELD — A group of creative minds say that while the downtown is steadily changing into a lively, robust, active place to spend time, it will need energy to keep going in that direction.

The Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee sponsored a panel at the John Zon Community Center this week that talked to almost 40 people about just how that can happen. The committee was formed to explore ways to coordinate and implement the city’s master plan.

Panelists were Linda McInerney of Eggtooth Productions, Rachel Katz of The Greenfield Gallery, Steve Goldsher of Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, and MJ Adams, Greenfield’s director of economic and community development, who discussed why Greenfield’s creative economy is growing.

“It’s amazing to see all the changes starting to happen here,” said Goldsher, who also owns the Pushkin Gallery. “We’re encouraging local artists, bringing in others and letting those artists run. We’ll see what happens.”

Goldsher said when he bought the venue that his sons run, he knew he wanted to be part of something bigger. He said the idea is for businesses to find their niche and attract people. Then, those people will support other businesses as they walk the downtown.

“There’s incredible potential here and we can all work together to attract diversity,” he said.

Goldsher said he would love to see young families move into Greenfield.

“We want to attract vibrant young professionals,” he said. “We need to create an environment for the next generation.”

While many downtown businesses have left Greenfield over the past five to 10 years and officials have worried about and wondered how to bring other businesses in, a group, The Progress Partnership Inc., has started meeting to do just that.

“When I got here, I looked at (Greenfield) as a blank slate,” Katz said. “I saw tons of artists and makers who didn’t have a home.”

Katz said she created a gallery where they could gather but believes much more can be done.

“The Progress Partnership is focused on the downtown,” she said. “We have so many assets to build upon.”

She said Greenfield has always been known for making things, referencing the former Greenfield Tap and Die. She said it is time for Greenfield to combine the creative work going on throughout the city with those who like to make things.

Plans are in the works to create a maker space in the former World Eye Bookshop storefront downtown. A maker space is a place in which people with shared interests — including computing and technology — gather to work on projects and share ideas and equipment, which include 3D printers, laser cutters and other machinery.

“We want Greenfield to be known for something positive and real,” she said.

McInerney said the group expects to hear within the next couple of weeks if a real estate deal will go through that will allow the maker space to be created.

Adams said Greenfield is tapping into the creative energy in Greenfield, looking for grants and other funding. She said the city has received a grant to revitalize the First National Bank building on Bank Row, and there will be a matching grant to renovate the maker space, if the deal goes through.

“We’re continuing to look at what we have and what needs to be developed,” Adams said. “Stay tuned.”

McInerney said the maker space is a popular idea. She said people have talked about creating a tool library, and woodworking and metalworking spaces. Someone has even offered a loom.

“It would be a 5,800-square-foot space,” she said. “We could have pop-up installations and performance spaces. There are all sorts of wonderful ideas.”

She said the space would be called The Hive to continue with the city’s bee theme.

“A little machine shop would fit naturally into Greenfield,” Katz said.

She said a maker space would be a bridge from the city’s past to its future.

“We have smart, creative people here,” Katz said. “Let’s give them the resources so they stay here.”

After the panel spoke, people who attended spoke up to say they’d love to see co-worker spaces downtown, as well as the maker space, which they believe will be incredibly popular.

One person asked what the city is doing about making it affordable for lower-income people to move to, work and shop in Greenfield. Adams replied that town officials are all worried about affordability and will continue to work on ways to make Greenfield more affordable.

“It’s a high priority for us,” she said.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269 or


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy