Brent Todd touts experience in Penacook
Brent Todd was a founding board member of the Penacook Village Association, just one of several community groups and committees he has joined in the past decade. Now, he says he is ready to take that experience to the next level with a campaign for city council.
“This is not something that I just want to try for fun,” he told the Monitor’s editorial board. “I want to take this seriously. I really do want to help the community and . . . it would be a wonderful time to be a city councilor.”
Todd, 49, is running in a three-way race for the city council seat representing Penacook. When Councilor Liz Blanchard announced this summer that she would retire after years on the council, she endorsed Todd to take her place.
The next few years will be an “exciting time” in Penacook, Todd said. The reconstruction of Route 3 will bring underground utilities, a roundabout and a new streetscape to the village. And the city will look for a partner to redevelop the former Allied Leather Tannery site.
One of Todd’s priorities is bringing a supermarket to Penacook; he began working on that idea in 2007 as a board member of the now-defunct group Concord 2020. While city officials and grocery store developers have said the former tannery site may be too small, or that Penacook village itself is not large enough to support a supermarket, Todd has not given up.
“I think we have to rely on what the market will bear,” he said. “But where there’s a will there’s a way, and people in Penacook have a really strong will for this to happen, and have for a long time.”
Todd, who works in Massachusetts as an analyst for Electric Insurance, a subsidiary of General Electric, said Penacook was now “ripe for a revisit” to the supermarket issue. He is a member of the Penacook Village Association’s new development committee, which will look to attract grocery store developers, and he hopes other planned development in the village will make it more attractive to developers.
While Todd would like to see a supermarket at the tannery site, he said he would also support a mixed-use development, with retail and restaurant space to draw residents to the center of the village.
Todd said a grocery store could also be built on Fisherville Road, or at the former Rivco property.
Penacook needs “a way to be able to get folks to meet and greet, see each other, share in what the community has to offer,” he said.
Todd said he would be open to exploring a public-private partnership for a new Penacook branch library as part of development on the tannery site, but it is not his top priority. He would first be concerned with “the tannery site at large,” he said.
Asked about the perception that city government ignores Penacook, Todd said he feels Concord has done a lot for the village.
“I think Penacook has come a long way on that score, actually,” he said. “Just taking the city’s involvement in the tannery site . . . they’ve invested a lot of time and effort into revitalizing that tannery site.”
As a member of the city’s transportation policy advisory committee, Todd has spent time discussing projects such as the city’s upcoming redesign of Main Street, which he feels will be positive for Concord, and the potential extension of Langley Parkway, for which he would like to see engineering traffic studies before drawing a conclusion.
Street: Weir Road
Job: Analyst for Electric Insurance
City government experience: Board member of Penacook Village Association, member of Transportation Policy Advisory Committee and Penacook Tax Increment Finance District Advisory Board.