Jan McClure looks to keep working for library, land conservation
Jan McClure sees herself as an advocate on the Concord City Council for land conservation and a new library.
“And I feel I have a really unique perspective and a really unique set of qualifications to be a councilor,” she told the Monitor. “Part of that is the 10 years I’ve spent there, and the experience I bring to the job. But I think I’m also . . . a voice that isn’t represented anywhere else on the council.”
McClure, 60, is running for a sixth term representing Ward 3. She is facing two challengers this year: Rick Cibotti and Jennifer Kretovic, who represents Ward 2 but now lives in Ward 3 due to redistricting.
McClure works as a land protection specialist for the Nature Conservancy in Concord, and is the city council’s representative to the conservation commission. She said she has pushed for land conservation in Concord – 2,800 acres have been protected during her decade as a councilor.
“The council has voted unanimously for all of our acquisitions thus far, but nobody else is really serving that voice on the council as I have,” she said.
In talks about the future of the Concord Public Library, McClure said she has played a similar role.
As the city requested developer proposals last year for the state Department of Employment Security site on South Main Street, McClure pushed to suggest developers consider a library on the property. The city council has not yet entered an agreement with a developer on that project, but a library has not been ruled out.
McClure served as chairwoman on the Mayor’s Task Force for a 21st Century Library, which studied the current library and the potential for a new site. The group began working in 2008 and presented a final report in 2011 that described the current Green Street site as having little space and not enough parking.
“We want an updated library,” McClure said. “I would love to see it downtown in a more central location. It’s possible that it will end up at the location where it is, but I am really passionate about making sure we explore all opportunities. And there are several occasions in, even the last six months, where I feel like if I hadn’t been there . . . it wouldn’t be an opportunity.”
McClure said she supports the upcoming redesign of Main Street, but said it would require continued oversight from the city council.
“But I’m not a cheerleader yet by any means,” she said. “I feel that I’m going to be asking a lot of hard questions, and I often do.”
She said she was most proud of her work in the past 10 years on the fiscal policy advisory committee and the city’s strong financial health and balanced budgets during an economic recession.
On the potential extension of the Langley Parkway from Pleasant to North State and Penacook streets, McClure said she has heard concerns from residents in Ward 3 but has not yet taken a position on the project. She said the engineering department created a public relations problem by presenting plans at two meetings this month when the project is not set in stone.
She said the city could consider adding an employee to handle public relations for projects, as well as everyday tasks like helping residents understand their tax bills or learn about city trails and parks.
McClure said she understands why the state would choose to build the women’s prison behind the men’s prison on North State Street, but she is concerned about the effect of construction on residents and the added traffic on the newly reconstructed North State Street.
She also has concerns about the Northern Pass route through Concord, though she has played a quiet role because she works for the Nature Conservancy, which is also seeking to become a consulting party in the project. But McClure said the city council took action to become a consulting party – a vote for which she recused herself – in part because she notified city officials that it was an option.
“I’m concerned about the visual impacts and the effect on tax base and property values,” she said. “That said, I also work for an organization that has been following Northern Pass . . . so I wanted to make sure that there was no perception of conflict there. My interest for Concord is for Concord.”