The Whitin Mill
A Community Magnet Bringing People of All Abilities Together
The Whitin Mill renovation is the story of how an out-of-work mill became an environmentally responsible, inclusive community treasure with cultural opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy.
Before the renovation of the Whitin Mill, Alternatives services included a sheltered workshop where people with disabilities, many of them newly transitioned from institutions, would perform piece work. Although the workshop, in combination with other Alternatives’ programs, allowed people with disabilities to live in the community, they were not yet of the community.
When Alternatives’ closed its sheltered workshop and began renovation on the Whitin Mill more than a decade ago, it adopted a model of community membership that envisioned the Mill as an anchor to bring people of all abilities together to break down long-standing attitudinal barriers and build new relationships.
Today, the Mill houses Alternatives’ administrative offices as well as an employment program, residential program and artisan studio spaces. With an art gallery, community plaza and technically-advanced theater, the Mill is also the site of ValleyCAST‘s year-round arts and culture activities that people of all abilities enjoy together.
The redevelopment of the Whitin Mill has given the Blackstone Valley region a community magnet that draws visitors to enjoy the arts, explore our industrial past and celebrate the modern marvels of a green future. The Whitin Mill truly is the transformation of real estate capital into social capital!