Allenstown chosen for charrette to plan future of Main Street

  • Plan New Hampshire volunteers draw concepts for Chichester's downtown during an October 2014 charrette. NICK REID—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Monday, May 02, 2016

Allenstown got word last month that it will receive free help from professional planners as it envisions the future of Main Street.

During a two-day session, a team of volunteers from Plan New Hampshire will take public input and immediately turn those comments into concepts, presenting visualizations of what the area could look like before the meeting adjourns.

The nonprofit has conducted about 60 of these charrettes since 1996, including in Chichester in 2014. It employs professionals in architecture, landscape architecture, economic development, traffic engineering, historic preservation and other fields.

Town Administrator Shaun Mulholland said the town applied months ago and received word last month that it was accepted. The charrette is planned for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, he said.

In its application, Allenstown homes in on the portion of Suncook Village on its side of the river.

Most of the commercial activity left in Suncook is on Pembroke’s side, the application says, and “the effect of this is that it seems that the Pembroke side retains more vitality than does the Allenstown side.”

If Allenstown can “catch up,” it will help Suncook as a whole and make it more of a destination to draw travelers off Route 3, it says.

“This reinforces Suncook’s identity, revives its more historic setup, and draws both communities together,” the application says.

One of the key features that is identified is the so-called China Mill that was built in the mid-1800s.

As recently as five years ago, the mill operated 24 hours a day and employed three shifts of workers, according to the application. Today, it’s down to one shift, has recently been sold to an out-of-state holding company and is expected to cease operations sometime soon, the application says.

“China Mill was the impetus for this Plan New Hampshire grant and is a major priority for the charrette process,” it says.

Among the goals of the charrette will be to identify potential future uses for the historic mill.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)