City of Concord seeks to buy property and partner with Boys and Girls Club at new facility

  • The current branch library is housed in a former police station. Even with renovations, the existing space would have limitations. Monitor file

  • Cathy Furlong, president of the Penacook Community Center board of directors, enters the building on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. The Concord Boys and Girls Club will be taking over the organization soon. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 12/1/2022 6:33:09 PM
Modified: 12/1/2022 6:30:47 PM

City officials are getting ready to spend $1.3 million to purchase land on Community Drive in Penacook to build a new library branch and community center.

The property is currently owned by the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire, which would partner with the city to build and share a new 8,900-square-foot, single-story building.

The current proposal is for the city to own about 1,470 square feet of space in the building to house the library, and areas for meeting space and public use, while the rest would be used by the Boys and Girls Club as a daycare center.

Additionally, the city would sell 3 Merrimack Street, which has been the Penacook Library Branch for the last 75 years, while ensuring its historic preservation as part of the sale. In addition a small, vacant lot at the intersection of Sanders and Merrimack streets will be sold and used for parking.

“I think this proposal is the best opportunity to ensure that Penacook can keep and maintain its branch library for years to come, while also providing preservation, reuse and return to the tax rolls of the 3 Merrimack Street property,” Ward One City Councilor Brent Todd said in an email.

The Merrimack Street property was assessed for $330,900 and includes a deed restriction to ensure that the 1899 building is preserved.

The city faced around $900,000 in renovation costs for the building, which, even if repaired, would still have limitations on parking and public space.

“There is incredible demand for the crucial support services the Boys and Girls Club provides, as previously supplied by the Penacook Community Center,” Todd said. “I think the legacy of those volunteers who put so much effort into creating the Penacook Youth Center will live on in the new structure.”

The Boys and Girls Club first approached the city in February with intentions to purchase the former Penacook Community center for the project. In July, the city council authorized up to $750,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds to be moved from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority to support it.

If approved, construction would begin in the spring of 2023 and the facility would be completed in the late spring or early summer of 2024.

“It’s a great opportunity to provide Penacook with a state-of-the-art facility it needs and deserves,” Todd said.

City councilors and planning board members will review both proposals during their respective meetings later this month and the public is encouraged to partake in the public hearings. Those that wish to provide input but can’t attend the meeting can email comments and questions to cityclerk@concordnh.gov.

The public hearing on the land sale will be held at City Hall on December 12 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The Planning Board public hearing on the Boys and Girls Club proposal to construct a new building at the site is scheduled for December 21 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.




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