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Editorial: Downtown can thrive amid change

After several years of debate, the Concord City Council on Wednesday night approved a $10.69 million plan to renovate downtown.

While that vote won’t allay concerns or silence criticism, it should shift the focus from how downtown businesses will be hurt and residents inconvenienced to how the people of Concord and surrounding communities can make sure the heart of Main Street keeps beating while the transformation takes place.

Severino Trucking Inc. Construction will begin work in the fall, starting with utilities and improvements to Eagle Square. All told, nine blocks will be redesigned and rebuilt, stretching north from Concord Street to Centre Street.

The changes include widening sidewalks from 10 to 12 feet to 19 feet on North Main, new storefront access for 18 businesses and more than 70 trees, with lighting, lining the street. Four tight lanes will be exchanged for two wide ones, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety will be increased.

If all goes as planned, construction will be completed sometime in 2016.

From now until then, downtown Concord will undergo a change that, at times, will be painful for businesses and frustrating for residents and visitors; pain is often the price extracted by progress. But there has never been a better opportunity for Greater Concord to demonstrate the strength of its community.

Shop downtown. Eat at Main Street restaurants. Take the opportunity to witness first hand the transformation in all of its phases – even if you loved downtown just the way it was.

Nothing is more insane than to refuse to accept what is. Concord is about to change, and even the strongest critics of the project must realize that the time for disagreement has passed. Now is the time for unified dedication to helping downtown survive the upheaval so it can emerge stronger and more vibrant than ever.

Soon, the future will become the present and Concord will have a downtown to be proud of. In the meantime, how people handle the next two difficult years will say more about the community than will the finished product.

Legacy Comments4

Would you like some dust with your fries? If any of these downtown businesses are on the financial edge I not sure they are going to survive the construction period. Maybe Five Guys will relocate from Fort Eddy Road to Main Street after the construction?

Maybe the five guys can bring five shovels and help out. OTOH, they might be five guys in trucks with permanent plates and just lean on the shovels, while expecting great pay and every benefit in the world, or five illegals who would pawn the shovels and steal the truck.

This case defines what is wrong with government, bureaucrats and elected leaders. The arrogance of the council trumped the will of the people, the majority of whom do not want this. It happened with Obamacare, it will happen with Immigration as it has with a host of other ideological agenda items. Leaders simply have no shame. They feel as if they know what is best and damn it, they are going to do as they please. Arrogance, lack of shame, a feeling of superiority all play into politicians making decisions which they feel are for the best interest of their constituents; even if those who they represent do not support that pathway. When will voters wake up and stop this?

Table for two? Ah, it must be your lucky day. We have just one left in view of the Jordan-Milton Excavator. Btw, you're dining to the Pneumatic Jackhammer's Waltz. Feel free to crack a window if the volume's too low.

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