Rick Cibotti looks to attract visitors to Concord
Rick Cibotti sees the Main Street redesign project as the biggest issue facing Concord, and he thinks he can offer expertise in construction to help complete the project.
Cibotti, owner of Concord-based Tile and Stone Inc., is running for city council in Ward 3. Also running in his ward are two incumbents: Ward 3 Councilor Jan McClure and Ward 2 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic, who now lives in Ward 3.
Cibotti, 59, told the Monitor that his construction experience will be beneficial to the city council as it redesigns Main Street. He is concerned
that the city only got one bid to begin work this fall, for double its budget. That bid has been rejected.
Cibotti does support improvements to Main Street, which will reduce traffic from four to two lanes with a crossable median, widen sidewalks, improve accessibility, and add landscaping and public art.
“It’s like when we work out: You get no pain, no gain,” he said of the potential impact of construction on Main Street. “You got to suck it up, we’re spending how many millions of dollars.”
He does think the city could do more to draw visitors downtown. For example, Concord should host a country music concert during NASCAR race weekends to bring fans from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway into the city.
“For NASCAR, we’re really missing the boat,” he said. “There’s over 100,000 people coming to our area, and think if we got a dollar from every one of those people who came here. That would be a nice little hit for the weekend.”
He also suggested building a rest stop and welcome center on Stickney Avenue to attract visitors off Exit 14 of Interstate 93.
Cibotti said one of his first priorities would be repaving city streets that are in poor condition. He would support the reduction of Loudon Road from four lanes to two lanes with a center turning lane. He opposes the potential extension of Langley Parkway from Pleasant Street to the intersection of Penacook, North State and Boutin streets.
While Cibotti said he had not thought of the impact on social services that a new women’s prison would have in Concord, he said the jobs it would create could be a positive for the city.
To help the city’s homeless population, Cibotti suggested that the city allow a tax-exempt campsite run by nonprofit or religious groups. It could have toilets, lights and a Dumpster.
“We’d have some rules that if you don’t follow the rules, you get a one-way ticket out of town,” he said. “And it would be patrolled by the citizens and church groups and also outreach programs. And we got to find work for these people. There’s plenty of jobs they could do like rake leaves, chop wood, clean, paint. And then instead of giving them money, we give them vouchers for food and shelter.”
On the possibility of building a new downtown library, Cibotti said the current library on Green Street is “fine the way it is.”
Cibotti is a member of the city’s trails committee, and would like to improve access from downtown to the Merrimack River.
If elected to the city council, Cibotti said he would offer a common-sense and working-class perspective to the city budget and projects.
“I’m different than anyone else,” he said. “I came from a blue-collar family and I’m hard-working, and that’s what I would be doing if I got onto the city council. . . . If we want to buy something, we say, ‘Do we need it or do we want it?’ and that’s the question that we ask.”