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Byron Champlin sees Concord ‘on the verge of great things’

  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Byron Champlin

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Byron Champlin

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Byron Champlin

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Byron Champlin

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Byron Champlin<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Byron Champlin wants to work to make downtown Concord a vibrant destination.

Champlin, 63, has lived in Concord’s Ward 4 for 26 years and has long considered a run for city council. He decided to run this fall after learning Ward 4 Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton would seek a citywide seat. Now, the 63-year-old program officer for Lincoln Financial Group is running against Kevin Bloom and current At-Large Councilor Michael DelloIacono.

“I think that this city is poised at the verge of great things,” he told the Monitor. “I think that we have the opportunity to really make a dynamic small city that will attract young people.”

Champlin is a board member of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and chairman of its Creative Concord committee. If elected to the council, he said he wants to focus on the completion of the Main Street redesign project.

But it’s also important to encourage use of downtown side streets, Champlin said. He wants “more Warren Streets, fewer School Streets,” noting that between Main and State streets, Warren Street has an intimate feel and retail shops, while School Street has a parking garage and parking lots.

On the topic of other city projects, Champlin said he had concerns about the potential extension of Langley Parkway from Pleasant Street to North State and Penacook streets. He said he was worried that it could have unintended consequences for residents in the area.

“If I was city councilor, I would be looking at ways to advance the city but always with an eye toward making irrevocable changes that may have a long-range impact,” Champlin said.

For example, he said the construction of Interstate 93 on the west side of the Merrimack River resulted in separating downtown Concord from its riverfront.

Champlin said he has heard resident concerns about homeless people wandering the downtown neighborhoods of Ward 4, and thinks the city could do more to address the issue. He suggested working to create a daytime resource center where the homeless could spend time. The city could also have one person in charge of coordinating the various resources and programs for the homeless, he said.

In the area of economic development, Champlin said he would like the city to continue attracting small businesses. He would also like to see incubator space in the city – specifically an arts incubator.

Concord also needs a four-year college, he said, and he would like to see NHTI change to fill that role.

“It would be producing an educated workforce, which is another weakness I think that we have . . . is that we need to be able to show employers that we have an educated workforce that’s job ready and that’s ready to take on the positions that they have,” he said.

Asked what sets him apart from his opponents, Champlin said that he knows and gets along with DelloIacono.

“I just think that I have a little bit more vision than he does,” Champlin said. “I think that I take the long view. I’ve lived in the ward for 26 years. I think I understand the ward and I’ve understood it more by knocking on doors and talking to people.”

Champlin said he was not sure how he would have voted on accepting a federal grant to purchase an armored BearCat vehicle; he said he did not have all the information that was provided to city councilors, and he is not a single-issue candidate.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Related

Meet the Ward 4 city council candidates

Monday, November 4, 2013

There is a three-way race in Concord’s Ward 4 this fall. Kevin Bloom, Byron Champlin and current At-Large Councilor Michael DelloIacono are running for the city council seat. Current Ward 4 Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton is running for a citywide council seat. … 0

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