The Bayless Pulp & Paper Mill, and the town that it supported, was devastated over 100 years ago by the collapse of a fifty foot high, 534 foot long dam along Freeman Run in north central Pennsylvania. The Borough of Austin has since partially recovered, but the remnants of the mill and dam remain, standing as a testament to the will, tenacity, and dedication of the area’s residents to keep their small community alive despite their hardships.
Pashek + MTR led a community-based planning process to prepare a master plan and economic development strategies for the Borough of Austin and the Austin Dam Memorial Park. The plan outlines strategies for connecting the 329 acre park to the Borough and surrounding region through both physical connections and interpretive story telling.
Proposed improvements balance the desires of the local residents and visitors with environmental sensitivity to preserve the authenticity and experience of the ruins. Interpretative themes of history, environment, culture, and commerce weave throughout the Borough and Park to create a community pride of place.