Councilors to hear final plans for Penacook riverfront park, construction to begin this summer

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 06-26-2023 8:54 AM

Concord’s City Council will decide next month whether to approve a $3.4 million park project along Canal Street in Penacook. If okayed, construction could begin this summer.

The design went before the Concord Planning Board on Wednesday night for review of the proposed 2.5-acre riverfront park, which would include a reconstructed parking lot, a fishing pier, a scenic overlook, pavilion, restrooms and an amphitheater with walking paths throughout the property that will provide future connectivity to the Merrimack Greenway Trail.

Regardless of the vote, Canal Street will undergo streetscape improvements in July as part of the annual paving program in Penacook Village, and a 10-foot wide shared pathway to facilitate pedestrian access. Following the review, planning board members voted to recommend city councilors accept a right-of-way easement deed from Caleb Penacook Limited Partnership to widen Canal Street and discontinue a portion of the roadway while doing so.

The easement will not be granted and Canal Street will not be made wider if the park’s proposal is not approved at City Council next month.

Last month, the board determined that the application was complete and city councilors will review it at their next meeting in July.

During a series of public meetings held in 2004 about the future of the former Allied Leather Tannery Complex, the community expressed a strong desire to develop a public riverfront park to support the future redevelopment of the site, as well as the revitalization of Penacook Village.

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Between 2008 and 2015, the city commissioned various conceptual site plans, including one for a riverfront park. As part of the fiscal year 2022, 2023 and 2024 budgets, the City Council voted to approve a total of $3.4 million, including $110,00 for design and permitting of the project, $1.24 million to fund the park construction and authorization for City Manager Tom Aspell to apply for a $500,000 grant, which remains pending.

The project remains in the permitting phase pending the receipt of the grant funds and bid pricing.

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