My Turn: There’s plenty going on in Penacook
The Monitor’s March 19 editorial, “City on the cusp of big change,” lists numerous projects planned for Concord. Many can have a positive impact on our community, both aesthetically and economically. Missing from this list – with the exception of the Penacook tannery redevelopment – are the many projects and activities taking place in Penacook.
While the tannery has been difficult to develop, it must be noted that when the site was abandoned by its previous owners, the city was left with an expensive mess to clean up. But in just a few short months the environmental issues that made the site difficult to redevelop will be resolved. Through city, state and federal governmental partnerships and funding, it is now possible to bring this abandoned site to a point where the city will move forward in finding a developer that will be able to have a significant economic impact on the village.
There are many other positive activities taking place in Penacook. The village is in the process of infrastructure improvements and a facelift. Power lines will be buried. Village Street and the sidewalks will be repaved. A roundabout will mitigate traffic concerns at the Washington and Village streets intersection. The Route 3 corridor upgrades and paving will continue, and repairs to the bridge connecting Penacook to Boscawen are complete.
The Merrimack Valley School District has decided to explore selling the Washington Street School. It is no secret that the Penacook Community Center is interested in purchasing this building to expand and consolidate its programs.
Even with the difficulties associated with the tannery site, we have seen the start of redevelopment with the construction of the Penacook Family Physicians’ new offices. In addition, a new yoga studio has opened above the pharmacy and a Dollar General Store is coming this spring and locating next to CC Tomatoes. With the opening of the Dollar General Store, I’m hoping the short area on Fisherville Road without a sewer line will finally be completed.
The city planning department recently secured a grant that is looking at rezoning to encourage future growth and redevelopment that will lead to a vibrant and economically strong village. Two meetings brought out many interested individuals from Penacook and the Manor willing to share their ideas.
Since the early 2000s Penacook has been fortunate to have received a great deal of support from city staff and the city council.
While this hasn’t always been true in the past, since the city’s director for special projects, Matt Walsh, took on the job of working toward redeveloping the tannery site, the involvement of city staff in working toward improvements for our village has been greatly enhanced.
City staff and the city council have partnered with the many stakeholders in Penacook: the Penacook Village Association, the merchants and business owners and those living in the village. Penacook is fortunate to have so many in our community who are willing to come out and engage with city staff, in finding solutions that will continue to make our village a better place to live and do business in.
When listing the many activities that are taking place in our city, let’s not forget that there are also many positive activities occurring just down the road from our downtown.
(Concord City Councilor Allan Herschlag represents Ward 2.)