With the holiday season fast approaching and having held our last Ward 2 Neighborhood meeting for the year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write a recap of our meetings at the Newell Post Restaurant this year.
Before I get started with the review I first have a number of people to thank. First of course is my wife Cathy Furlong who (while it is a mystery to me) continues to not only put up with me, but offers me her unconditional support in all that I do.
Both Cathy and our State Representative Paul Henle came up with the idea for these meetings. I of course realized what a great idea it was and was quick to jump on the band wagon.
A special thank you to our friends Deb and Dave Newell for generously opening their restaurant - The Newell Post -and for their warm and friendly hospitality. They have both been wonderful hosts and participants at our get togethers.
At our first meeting in February, Paul and I had no idea who, if anyone would show up. We were pleasantly surprised to have over a dozen of our neighbors come out that first evening. The rest of the meetings saw a range from a dozen to almost 30 people attending, asking questions, voicing their concerns and offering their opinions. Over the course of this year we have met 5 times.
We have discussed many issues this year. The reintroduction of the PSNH power line was discussed at almost all our meetings. This is an issue that effects not only the abutters to this project but our entire community. How the planning board decides to allow PSNH to move forward with this project will set the tone for how our city determines the conditions on utility projects in the future. Thanks to all those who took the time to contact me and educate me on the impact (as proposed by PSNH) this project will have on our community.
Traffic issues continue to be a concern. We have seen a number of projects move forward, additional police patrols to help clam traffic and improvements to at least one intersection that will take place this spring. While there is still work to be done to increase the safety of our streets, because of your concerns and involvement we have seen very good responses from our engineering and police departments.
We have seen new commercial development in Ward 2 with the opening of a Dollar General store next to CC Tomatoes. And we have been told to expect an auto parts store to start construction this spring in the lot next to Dollar General. It’s a good start. Let’s hope for continued commercial development in both the Manor and Penacook.
With the completion of the road and streetscape improvements in the Village we now have one final section of Route 3 that will be completed in 2015. And speaking of the Village we just had a ribbon cutting there to celebrate the completion of the Village phase of the Route 3 project. With the installation of the street lights, the Village is now a focal point of our community that we all can enjoy and be proud of.
A dedicated group of volunteers is working very hard to raise the necessary funds to replace the gazebo at Poulin Park this spring. If you would like to contribute to this project you can get all the information you need at the Penacook Village Association’s website at penacook.org.
We have had a number of guests at our meetings that have answered our questions and helped to inform us about what’s going on in our community. We had Kathy Conners from Ward 4 and Officer Ryan Howe from the Police Department’s community resources unit talk to us about safety issues impacting not only our Ward but the city at large.
David Still from PSNH came with 2 of his colleagues to answer our questions regarding the reintroduction of the 317 power line project that runs from the Manor fire station through Hopkinton to Warner. Nancy Larson our city planner took the time to talk with us and answer questions on what the roles of the planning department and planning board are regarding PSNH’s project.
Both Liz Blanchard the retiring Ward 1 Councilor and Brent Todd the current Councilor from Penacook have visited with us, along with Kathy Bush from the Penacook Village Association.
And at our most recent meeting Dan Feltes, our newly elected State Senator took the time to stop by and answer many of our questions that will be taken up in next year’s upcoming legislative session.
There were discussion about the condition of our roads, traffic safety, what can be done to reduce the property tax burden we all pay and how to attract more businesses to the city and in particular the Manor and Penacook.
And there were discussions on how to become more involved with issues effecting our city, how to contact city officials and how to be sure the city hears our concerns.
But the most important thing that happened this year is that you became involved. You spoke out about issues that effect you and your neighbors. You wanted answers as to how we can make our city an even better place to live in. And you challenged us (your city officials and elected representatives) to fix those issues and get the answers to your questions.
So as we approach the new year, I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to come out and meet your neighbors and let us know what was on your mind. And I want to thank our guests for taking the time to make themselves available to answer our questions.
We will again be meeting after the New Year. In the meantime if you have any questions you can contact State Representative Paul Henle at: email@example.com and me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-6086
Until next year, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy New Year and best wishes for whatever and wherever you celebrate during this holiday season.