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Old 10-02-2018, 08:16 PM   #1
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Default Downtown Laconia Urban Renewal 2020

Here is my proposal renewing Downtown Laconia, primarily:

1. Removing 25' from the east portion of the Sawyer's Jewelry building, and adding 40' to the west side of it.

2. Making Main Street from Melnick's to the bridge two ways again, with parallel parking on both sides, and thus making the primary southern thoroughfare through downtown be Pleasant Street to Main Street (not Beacon Street West).

3. Now that Beacon Street West is relieved of the duty as primary southbound traffic, reroute the street to create two T intersections with Water Street, making it two way traffic with parking on both sides.

4. Reconnect Water Street to Pleasant Street - at 17' it's narrow, but it's possible to get a one-way east bound lane in there plus sidewalks.

5. Reopen Mill plaza to one-way westbound traffic

6. Make Beacon Street East two way traffic

7. Renovate the garage. Despite public sentiments, I believe that this building still has tremendous value to the city. For one, it is already built, and has businesses on the first floor and a capacity for 175 cars (very few parking garages come to mind that have retail on the ground floor, which is one of its successes). To tear it down and build anew would be the most energy-intensive solution. I believe that by widening main street, realigning the entrance ramps, creating a pedestrian-friendly zone on the ground floor, the building can appear much more attractive, and benefit the city greatly.

I only have vague notions as to the cost of this entire project, but I suppose the Sawyer's Jewelry building construction/demolition/renovation around 3 million dollars, and another 3 million for the parking garage renovation. Less than half a million would be needed for street alignments, grading, landscaping, curbing, and so on. Bringing the total project cost to under 7 million dollars, or less than half the cost of the Colonial Theatre project.

I believe both projects (Colonial Theatre and this one I am proposing) could have tremendous impact on our beloved city. By far the most compelling reason is that it opens up Main Street again; downtown will appear far more attractive, it will create several more pedestrian-primary locations throughout downtown. Simply put, it will feel better moving about downtown. Never again can people near and far complain about the eyesore of Laconia's urban renewal project, which was happening exactly 50 years ago. As a nod of appreciation and respect to those civic leaders, I believe we owe it to ourselves and future generations to continue the journey they started in creating a town we can be truly proud of.

At 17 city blocks (roughly speaking), downtown Laconia is the largest urban area in NH north of Concord. It can be an exciting place to live and work and explore. Future projects I envision (and which are included in these plans) include developing the municipal parking lot into apartment or commercial buildings, creating a new street to the east of the old police station and connecting to Beacon Street East, and redeveloping the flagpole intersection by the Bank of New Hampshire.

Thank you for reading all of this. I will now post the plans below.

This has been percolating in my mind since I was a child, and I have spent several months developing these plans. I will love to hear your comments. Please keep the discussion civil.

Thank you!
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Old 10-02-2018, 08:20 PM   #2
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Default Plans - Downtown Laconia overview

Please click on the file to download it and preview it.
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File Type: pdf DOWNTOWN URBAN RENEWAL A 101.pdf (438.8 KB, 307 views)
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Old 10-02-2018, 08:24 PM   #3
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Zoomed-in plan of the lower loop - as you can see, the net loss of parking spaces if very few when you consider on street parking will replace most of the spots lost from the Beacon Street West parking lot.
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Old 10-02-2018, 08:26 PM   #4
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Default Street Width Comparisons

State Street, Portsmouth.

At 60 feet from building facade to building facade, this would be similar to what lower Main Street massing would look like:

from left to right (numbers in feet),

sidewalk with trees (10), parallel parking (8), two lane street (24), parallel parking (8), sidewalk with trees (10).
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Old 10-02-2018, 08:37 PM   #5
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I am not sure who you are but you have obviously put a lot of time into this and signed up on this site for the purpose of making your ideas public.

I will respectfully disagree that a substantial amount of money should be spent on anything in the downtown area. The vast majority of taxpayers in the city never go into that area and see no benefit from the spending there.

The $10,000,000 spent on the Colonial Theater is a waste of money. If it is ever completed what percentage of taxpayers will ever go there? The Holy Grail people who bought the Church and spent $1,000,000 went out of business. Most of the businesses in the downtown area are just hanging on because of a lack of customers. Continuing to spend money in this area does not seem to be a good investment.

Is it really necessary to spend millions in an attempt to have an active thriving downtown that people who pay 95% of the taxes will never go to?
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:13 AM   #6
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The only thing I do in Laconia is drive through it, fast.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:01 AM   #7
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Live in Laconia 5 months a year, Union St at Lakeport back toward Tilton I may visit once every couple years (Last time was for Holy Grail). I did have Great American on my list this year but never got around to it.

Anything from O's and up to Merideth and Gilford I visit daily (east side?)

I've tried to do the downtown walk in the past (multiple times) but there really is nothing other than the consignment store worth looking at.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:50 AM   #8
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I admire your passion and time and effort put into your proposal. However and as someone who owns a large commercial building in downtown Laconia it is far too ambitious.

I am all for a revitalization of the area but not on such a large scale. Your cost projection of 7 million is definitely too low (I have been in the construction business as well as a CPA for over 30 years). I would use a 10+ million dollar number which the city would never recuperate.

I do disagree with Tilton, there are many businesses doing well downtown but as in any city there are others holding on by a thread and a revitalization would certainly help but in the hands of a city that has overspent on the Colonial Theatre and does not seem to want to move into the 21st century this could be a financial disaster.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:22 AM   #9
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Default Laconia's Winnipesaukee River

The Winnipesaukee River runs through the downtown and residential area of Laconia from the Lake Winnipesaukee-Lakeport Dam to the river to Lake Opeechee to the river to the Avery Dam to the river to Lake Winnisquam. All told, the Winnipesaukee River is maybe 1 1/4 miles long from Lake Winnipesaukee to Lake Winnisquam.

Unloading you canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board in the city canoe/kayak launch ramp, just across from Sawyer's Jewelry, into the Winnipesaukee River on a shallow bend there, just before passing under the Main St road over river bridge there is very doable.

This river is the one and only outflow of 75-billion gallon Lake Winnipesaukee, is extremely clean, and has both cold water-trout, and warm water small mouth bass for some very good fishing.

Seems like Laconia could promote the Winnipesaukee River for activities like kayak/canoe paddling, fishing, and stand up paddle board paddling, fishing and yoga classes.

Is too bad that more paddlers are not using what could be a very happening Winnipesaukee River with different urban and out-in-the-country sections for paddling.

So, get out there and paddle Laconia's Winnipesaukee River on a stand up paddle board, kayak or canoe and you will be a better person for doing it ..... paddle, paddle, paddle!

.........

By the way, the Plymouth Walmart still has one dark green fishing kayak, seats with small backrests for two, length 12', reg $500, now $250, cap 500-lbs. Comes with a double ended kayak paddle.

Is totally, totally, totally perfect for one or two to go paddling and fishing the Winnipesaukee River in downtown Laconia! Will make the other kayaks jealous!
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:53 AM   #10
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Default Downtown Laconia

Although many ideas are terrific, it's putting lipstick on a pig. The only way I would invest in downtown Laconia is to eliminate Section 8 housing and the transients walking and biking around with their backpacks. Once the degenerates off the street, and people feel safer going downtown, the improvements won't attract the business Laconia is seeking. Otherwise, I wouldn't invest a penny, either personal or through taxes.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:57 AM   #11
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Although many ideas are terrific, it's putting lipstick on a pig. The only way I would invest in downtown Laconia is to eliminate Section 8 housing and the transients walking and biking around with their backpacks. Once the degenerates off the street, and people feel safer going downtown, the improvements won't attract the business Laconia is seeking. Otherwise, I wouldn't invest a penny, either personal or through taxes.
I disagree, my property does pretty well down there, I am very happy with my tenants and the return on my investment about 12% annually.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:04 AM   #12
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I was born and raised in Laconia and would love to see it revitalized.
Unfortunately the original urban renewal project ruined the city.
If they had planned the project around a Riverwalk from Church st to Main with business' and higher end housing on both sides of the river as well as revitalizing the original Main st such as Newport did, I think it would have succeeded.
Building more housing and facilities for drug rehab may be socially conscious but doesn't do much to attract business and shopping to downtown.
I loved the old Colonial theater but I can't ever see it as a financial success.
Laconia is a ghost town on weekends.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:05 AM   #13
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I disagree, my property does pretty well down there, I am very happy with my tenants and the return on my investment about 12% annually.
As the Big O would say, "you're making my point." If we want to invest in housing, including a substantial amount of Section 8 housing, then let's make that investment and reap the returns. However, FLL was looking for ways to improve downtown to attract people who would otherwise not go downtown. My wife does not shop downtown by herself because she feels unsafe. I know many, many people who feel the same way. I too would invest in rental units; however, at this point in time, I would never invest in ways to make downtown more attractive, including the Colonial Theater.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:06 AM   #14
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The only thing I do in Laconia is drive through it, fast.
Laconia certainly has its problems but for the last few years some of my family members take a daily trip to the Wayfarer Coffee Roasters shop on Main St. when we're at the lake. It's a very popular spot in the heart of downtown Laconia and seems to be doing very well. It's always been busy when I've been there and it has a lot of young and hip customers. They even sometimes have musical entertainment for the coffee drinkers.

When we went there for coffee we also walked up and down Main St. and visited a few shops. There seems to be more people and activity now than in the past. Maybe a few more popular businesses there would help turn Laconia in the right direction.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:08 AM   #15
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I was born and raised in Laconia and would love to see it revitalized.
Unfortunately the original urban renewal project ruined the city.
If they had planned the project around a Riverwalk from Church st to Main with business' and higher end housing on both sides of the river as well as revitalizing the original Main st such as Newport did, I think it would have succeeded.
Building more housing and facilities for drug rehab may be socially conscious but doesn't do much to attract business and shopping to downtown.
I loved the old Colonial theater but I can't ever see it as a financial success.
Laconia is a ghost town on weekends.
I too was raised in Laconia. Thanks for mentioning the drug rehab businesses. The drug rehab approach has not helped.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:14 AM   #16
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Laconia certainly has its problems but for the last few years some of my family members take a daily trip to the Wayfarer Coffee Roasters shop on Main St. when we're at the lake. It's a very popular spot in the heart of downtown Laconia and seems to be doing very well. It's always been busy when I've been there and it has a lot of young and hip customers. They even sometimes have musical entertainment for the coffee drinkers.

When we went there for coffee we also walked up and down Main St. and visited a few shops. There seems to be more people and activity now than in the past. Maybe a few more popular businesses there would help turn Laconia in the right direction.
I agree it has the potential. However, there are a lot of transients walking around, and if you're a woman by yourself you do not feel safe. Last November, my wife had to pick up a prescription from Genesis and had to park in the CVS parking lot since the spaces on the street were unavailable. I got a panicked call from her because some tweeker was following her to her car, and she was concerned he was going to jump her.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:25 AM   #17
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I too admire your passion and time and effort for trying to fix up downtown Laconia. When I was a young kid in the 60's spending summers on Lake Winnisquam getting a chance to go downtown was a special event. My mom, after getting and making sure that we had all the groceries for the week would always budget some time to go downtown. When the Belknap Mall came in that was probably one of the first reasons we stopped going, but probably one of the bigger reasons we stopped going was when they reconfigured all the roads downtown. It just made going to the mall more convenient. As mentioned I admire your passion for trying to do something better. Every once in a while I'll take a ride downtown for just the memories, but I rarely stop anywhere or go into any shops, usually by the time I have gotten there I'm discouraged. Not because it's not the way I remember it, but mostly because it is such a $hit-H_le of a ride coming in from the south. The drive from the Belmont town line to Downtown has been one of the worst stretches of road for years and years and anything fixed always seems half-ass and needs more repairs a few years after. No wonder everyone takes the by-pass and goes to other places. In the photos from the weirsbeach.com site there is a photo of a sign that reads "Laconia Welcomes You" they need to prove it. Without going on any further I hope that things go well for you. But IMHO you could build the Emerald City there and it won't make any difference if the City of Laconia does not do a better job fixing up the infrastructure that leads to downtown and making it more appealing to just enter the city. On the bright side, it seems some folks are doing well despite all of Laconia's problems and that's great to see. Downtown Laconia so much potential .... but ???

Good Luck.

Urban renewal gone horribly wrong.
http://lostnewengland.com/2016/07/ma...-laconia-nh-2/


Some old photos of downtown Laconia.
http://www.weirsbeach.com/Largejpgs/...wnlaconia.html
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:33 AM   #18
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Post Good points, but

Hi all,

When the day is done, economic revitalization of downtown relies upon the ability to economically upgrade the city in a broader sense. I grew up in Lowell, a blue collar mill town with similar problems.
  1. The value of the property needs to increase to push less desirable elements out and create a catalyst for investment. That requires an influx of higher paying jobs and broad economic revitalization.

This means bringing in business that creates a forklift to the broad economy. The Colonial Theater (if ever renovated) will not create a significant number of high paying jobs. The extension to the WOW trail will not create a significant number of high paying jobs.

Laconia does not have any significant tech economy or academic economy...both have created a catalyst for urban renewal in Boston, Lowell etc... A focus on university affiliations and outreach to the technical community would be good starting points. A startup ecosystem would be a great addition.

Laconia would be a wonderful place to live and work if the economic climate could be improved. Unfortunately, the current thinking is that "if you build it, they will come". Good in the movies...here, the issues are more deeply rooted.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 10-03-2018, 09:52 AM   #19
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personally, just like the old Meredith center which is still the Meredith center with the focus of commerce outside the center of town,

Laconia should stick to keeping the town hall there, and other city items, and hopefully the rest of the land would be sold off for residential, preferably not section 8. A downtown Laconia is not needed

I to applaud your efforts and passion, but like things stated above, unless the infastructure changes, economic reasons come into play, and jobs, anything done would be a waste, it is so depressing driving into laconia from all directions, with the run down tenement homes, closed businesses, terrible roads, and trash every where and the shady people. Only way that is somewhat enjoyable is from 106 and you drive by a prison.

I do not see that changing road directions, benches, trees, and the garage, along with the Colonial theatre renovation, although cool, but will be a labor of love and a huge loss of money, and these things have been tried and tried and tried again all over the place and a couple times in Laconia as well.

Are there any business folk out there willing to buy up the land and property and start over??? I personal do not have the capital nor the ROI wait time to do it
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:06 AM   #20
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Hi all,

  1. The value of the property needs to increase to push less desirable elements out and create a catalyst for investment. That requires an influx of higher paying jobs and broad economic revitalization.


Jet-skier
You struck a note with number 1...
Not that it would ever happen with Laconia, but this is exactly, what has happened to big cities like SF and LA not to mention others.
Extremely expensive housing has been the cause of the decline of these places.
Homelessness is rampant along with open drug use.
The “starter kit” of this scenario is already present in Laconia...a push in this direction might be the cause of fostering more of what the big cities have become? Just my opinion of course.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:08 AM   #21
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The issue is one of the haves and have nots. Most of they so called locals refuse to accept the the economy of the area is seasonal, tourist and service. Manufacturing has moved on. Business models must change


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Old 10-03-2018, 11:25 AM   #22
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As the Big O would say, "you're making my point." If we want to invest in housing, including a substantial amount of Section 8 housing, then let's make that investment and reap the returns. However, FLL was looking for ways to improve downtown to attract people who would otherwise not go downtown. My wife does not shop downtown by herself because she feels unsafe. I know many, many people who feel the same way. I too would invest in rental units; however, at this point in time, I would never invest in ways to make downtown more attractive, including the Colonial Theater.
You missed my previous post. I do not and never purchase residential rental property. I own a large commercial building there so I am NOT making your point.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:20 PM   #23
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You missed my previous post. I do not and never purchase residential rental property. I own a large commercial building there so I am NOT making your point.
There could be a variety of reasons why your commercial building is successful, having nothing to do with the vibrancy and attractiveness of downtown. My dad owns several commercial properties, but rents to entities that have nothing to do with selling goods or attracting customers. I would invest in those as well.

My point is that I would not use my or taxpayer money to invest in an attraction, such as a hotel or the theater. In today's economy, jumpstarted by the tax cuts and removal of barriers to business, it is not surprising that downtown has had a modicum of success. Is it sustainable? The City of Laconia has made its decision, invest in Section 8 housing and drug rehab facilities to generate a population to fill the Section 8 housing units. Laconia should focus on making money from these endeavors and spare us taxpayers of the pipedream of making Laconia a go to destination.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:21 PM   #24
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You missed my previous post. I do not and never purchase residential rental property. I own a large commercial building there so I am NOT making your point.
After years of owning residential rentals I will never own them anymore. Commercial rental property is so much easier and you can make them pay for everything.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:37 PM   #25
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Retail is dead; everyone shops online. The only hope for any small downtown anywhere is for there to be something related to food, drinks or entertainment that can draw a crowd all year long and then maybe hope some of the spin off foot traffic might support some other type of small businesses in the area.

Some towns have been able to thrive with some sort of antique mall concept but that sort of thing seems to happen by accident rather than design.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:49 PM   #26
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After years of owning residential rentals I will never own them anymore. Commercial rental property is so much easier and you can make them pay for everything.
Everything I own is NNN with national tenants or medical related except for downtown Laconia which because of the makeup of the building they are N leases. Residential is a huge headache
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:02 PM   #27
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Default Stopped by Local Provisions today....Blooms Variety

Best crab cakes I've had. Also got some beef stew for later and then went across the street to Blooms Variety Story...Holy cow! If you haven't been in this "antique" store, go on a Sat. afternoon when the trains are running upstairs.

Downtown has a certain charm, including Wayfarer, Greenlaw's music store etc., that you're not gong to get in a mall setting. I've gotta try The Local Eatery!

I like downtown Laconia a lot. It has potential. I did see some mendicants today...But I live in San Francisco.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:48 PM   #28
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I appreciate everyone's responses. I'd like to make a couple points:

Perspective - to a person who doesn't use downtown Laconia regularly, it is easy to make the assumption that no one goes there. However, several hundred people live and work there already - Genesis Behavioral Health, the Clinic, Lakes Region Community Services, Bank of NH, City Hall, Rist Frost Shumway, the offices in the mills, the restaurants - Local, Hector's, Karma Cafe, Wayfarers, not to mention the businesses that line Main Street. The Allen Rogers apartments and River's Edge are modern housing complexes. Sunrise towers is expanding. The court, library, and post office are all located there. It's a 15 minute walk from 4 of the 5 city schools, and a twenty minute walk for perhaps half of the housing stock in the city. One could argue that downtown Laconia is looking stronger than anytime this century. Of course many of us don't use it. But many others do.

Opinions also depend on our values. As the name of this forum suggests, I imagine many of us are on this forum because the lake is our biggest priority. Waterfront homes command the same price as the cost of restoring the parking garage. The parking garage is already built. To tear it down would be to throw away a resource - like tearing down a waterfront cottage in order to build something larger than necessary. It requires more effort to renovate than to tear down and build new. That is a paradox of our culture. I value what we already have, and choose to put my time and energy into making what we already have better.

Regarding the Colonial Theatre, I think this is again a question of values. The benefit of any city - whether it's London or Laconia - is its cultural output. When people come together, we have more resources than when we are alone. A beautiful theatre that presents good performances is not just a benefit to taxpayers, it is a benefit to all people who wish to experience the products of our culture - plays, musicals, shows, concerts, performances, stage acts, perhaps a high school graduation, perhaps a city council induction ceremony. Some of us argue that it's too expensive to renovate the theatre - I argue it's too costly not to.

Finally, I do not propose this project to spur economic revitalization - it is meant to create an enjoyable urban experience for people who use downtown Laconia.

Economics are tied to the global market - we cannot stem the migration to southern NH, for they are closer to the Boston Metro. But if you do live in southern NH and commute to Boston Metro, I wonder how many people get to enjoy an urban experience in the communities where they live? I've said it before, that downtown Laconia is the largest urban area north of Concord in the state. At the end of the day, when the car is parked and the bills are paid, where do we enjoy our time? Perhaps it's at home in the living room. Despite all the material advantages of the sedentary lifestyle, the public sphere is a more compelling place to spend my time. But that is my opinion.

Regarding the costs - 3 million for the parking garage has been stated publicly in several news articles through the Daily Sun. 3 million for the Sawyer's Jewelry building I figured something like this - 40'x200' extension to the rear of the building at $250/sf = 2 million, plus one million for demolishing the front 25'x200' and renovations. Please let me know what a better estimate would be and how you got it.

Thank you.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:51 AM   #29
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There could be a variety of reasons why your commercial building is successful, having nothing to do with the vibrancy and attractiveness of downtown. My dad owns several commercial properties, but rents to entities that have nothing to do with selling goods or attracting customers. I would invest in those as well.

My point is that I would not use my or taxpayer money to invest in an attraction, such as a hotel or the theater. In today's economy, jumpstarted by the tax cuts and removal of barriers to business, it is not surprising that downtown has had a modicum of success. Is it sustainable? The City of Laconia has made its decision, invest in Section 8 housing and drug rehab facilities to generate a population to fill the Section 8 housing units. Laconia should focus on making money from these endeavors and spare us taxpayers of the pipedream of making Laconia a go to destination.
What are the Political Demographics of the people who are in charge of Laconia? That might answer a lot about what direction Laconia is going in. I believe one of them owns the Laconia Daily Sun. I also grew up in Laconia and as someone did mention " It is a ****hole ". As long as the same people are in charge NOTHING will change. Section 8 and Drug Rehabs.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:28 AM   #30
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Default ... Laconia, there's only one!

Laconia, NH is the one and only Laconia in the USA,and the www.laconialibrary.org is one super-duper library!

It is the only library around these here parts of New Hampshire that has a very costly, weekly subscription to the Value Line Investment Survey. With just a little bit of time and study, it can make your money grow, just like planting a perennial plant. With the Value Line, is just like painting by the numbers, and you end up with a masterpiece work or art, high powered portfolio …. budda-bing-bang-boom … Laconia!

Rich or poor, you is better off rich.

On Friday, September 15, 2016, candidate Donald J Trump made an evening campaign visit to the Laconia Middle School because he knew where to go to meet and greet with his supporters.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:40 AM   #31
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As an outsider transplant to the area, I'm fully in support of revitalizing, regeneration and cultural improvement of downtown Laconia. It has the potential to be a very pretty, prosperous 'walking city' and it would be great to have a wider selection of bars and restaurants downtown.

The old buildings and architecture were amazing, it's a shame they were torn down.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:36 AM   #32
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As an outsider transplant to the area, I'm fully in support of revitalizing, regeneration and cultural improvement of downtown Laconia. It has the potential to be a very pretty, prosperous 'walking city' and it would be great to have a wider selection of bars and restaurants downtown.
I tend to agree with you, but am suspicious when it comes to using tax dollars for stuff like this, when for the most part IMHO Laconia has not done the right things in past.

I don't have the answers either, and should not criticize. It just seems that with all the natural resources the area has, mainly the four big lakes and other things. That Laconia should be in a much better position already.

I know in my small town we are facing some of the same problems, but the leaders of the town are for now just taking baby steps. Knowing full well that the taxpayers are already strapped. And know without a doubt that they want to see a steady return on there monies (to possibly reinvest) and do not want to see anything thrown into a black hole without a return "just" because it will look nice.

IMHO is not just moving a few roads and side walks, but a change perhaps in the culture of the leadership so people have faith in taking on something like this.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:56 AM   #33
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What are the Political Demographics of the people who are in charge of Laconia? That might answer a lot about what direction Laconia is going in. I believe one of them owns the Laconia Daily Sun. I also grew up in Laconia and as someone did mention " It is a ****hole ". As long as the same people are in charge NOTHING will change. Section 8 and Drug Rehabs.
Here is a list of the Laconia City Council:

Edward Engler, Mayor
•Bruce Cheney, Ward 1
• David Bownes, Ward 2
• Henry D. Lipman, Ward 3
•Mark Haynes, Ward 4
•Robert Hamel, Ward 5
•Andrew Hosmer, Ward 6

Engler, Bownes, Lipman and Hosmer are left leaning. Hamel is pretty conservative. I'm not sure about Cheney and Haynes. The bottom line is that they will vote for anything that increases property tax revenue. So when a Section 8 housing project comes up for debate, they are apt to take the quick money. They don't seem interested in long term initiatives.

The state school property will be a good indication of what they value. I bet you'll see a lot of "affordable housing" in the plan.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:10 PM   #34
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Here is a list of the Laconia City Council:

Edward Engler, Mayor
•Bruce Cheney, Ward 1
• David Bownes, Ward 2
• Henry D. Lipman, Ward 3
•Mark Haynes, Ward 4
•Robert Hamel, Ward 5
•Andrew Hosmer, Ward 6

Engler, Bownes, Lipman and Hosmer are left leaning. Hamel is pretty conservative. I'm not sure about Cheney and Haynes. The bottom line is that they will vote for anything that increases property tax revenue. So when a Section 8 housing project comes up for debate, they are apt to take the quick money. They don't seem interested in long term initiatives.

The state school property will be a good indication of what they value. I bet you'll see a lot of "affordable housing" in the plan.
Exactly. Liberals ruin everything to the ground. Chicago San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego. All are spiraling down and out of control for the easy dollar. Maybe in a hundred years Laconia will
change but in our lifetimes things will remain the same or worse.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:25 PM   #35
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Default ..... a funeral home?

For maybe ten years or longer downtown Laconia was home to a very happening Goodwill 2nd hand store, and I used to go there a couple times per month. Now, Goodwill went and moved to a former Hyundai store in Belmont, and it is not as good as the old Laconia Goodwill.

The Salvation Army store in Laconia has a very happening hard cover book department, located in what was a walk-in vault complete with a big, heavy steel vault door. It is neat as a pin, organized, and well designed. Hard cover books from the 70's-80's'90's that have msrp of 20-30 dollars will sell for about $1.50 there. All sorts of hard cover books ..... is like a mini bookstore.

With Walmart, Lowe's, Hanniford's, TJ Maxx and Homegoods just a couple miles away in Gilford, it's not easy for retail to make it work in the downtown Main St area of Laconia?

The Saint Vincent dePaul 2nd hand store for clothes and furniture in Lakeport is a super-duper store.

Laconia has Irwin Marine, the biggest boat dealer in NH, and only 5-star Sea Ray dealer in New England.

Laconia has the Irwin Zone, a huge Ford-Mercury-Lincoln-Toyota-Scion-Hyundai dealer.

Politics don't really make any difference ...... whether the local Laconia government is run by either party ..... it's all about the individuals and what's possible ...... it's a tough challenge trying to get that downtown up and happening .... which is almost impossible.

As a camper from Camp Alton in 1964, I can recall getting bused to the Main St, Laconia, Playhouse to see a few different plays, always on a Thursday, including Lil' Abner, and Annie Get Your Gun, so getting the playhouse up and running will be nice.

Whoopsie-doopsie .......oopsie.......no........methinks I got it confused with the Rochester Playhouse?

So, you know that downtown Laconia is sooooo dead that even the Goodwill Thrift Store closed up and left town .......... now, that's pretty danged dead.

Who knows but just maybe a mortuary business, a funeral home, could be a good fit there, what with the downtown already being totally dead, it could be a great fit!
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:57 AM   #36
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That is one of my pet peeves when voting in local politics. They don't tell you if they are Republican or Democrat. So if they are an unknown political, you have no idea how they will vote. I thought Laconia used to be pretty conservative, but I guess it is changing???
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:04 AM   #37
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This is an extremely interesting thread in the forum and I am really curious to hear from as many posters as possible. I just do not understand why FLL has to derail this thread with nonsense just to "poke the basket" and taking it off topic. It is extremely annoying. Sorry for the rant
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:17 AM   #38
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This is an extremely interesting thread in the forum and I am really curious to hear from as many posters as possible. I just do not understand why FLL has to derail this thread with nonsense just to "poke the basket" and taking it off topic. It is extremely annoying. Sorry for the rant
Because he has nothing else to do.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:23 AM   #39
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Because he has nothing else to do.
Absolutely, It is really aggravating, this is an excellent topic
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:31 AM   #40
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That is one of my pet peeves when voting in local politics. They don't tell you if they are Republican or Democrat. So if they are an unknown political, you have no idea how they will vote. I thought Laconia used to be pretty conservative, but I guess it is changing???

New Hampshire used to be Conservative.... However to many Left/Democrats have moved INTO this State and have changed it to a Liberal state. Lived here all my life and have seen the change, Just a shame.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:13 AM   #41
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Post Back on Track

The local economy is absolutely seasonal and highly dependent upon the influx of outside money. This represents a challenge for a number of businesses such as restaurants and hotels. In addition, there is less money coming in for boats etc... (the speed limit on the lake probably did not help this one).

I have been coming to the lake for 40 years (owned here for over 20 years). Back in the 80s there was the spend spend spend economy which brought money in from MA etc... Demographics have changed and the economy has changed.

So, some thoughts:
  • Create high paying jobs that don't rely on seasonality.
  • Limit growth the of infrastructure that is not supportive to economic growth (ex: section 8 housing).
  • Commission an economic development board comprised of successful entrepreneurs and business people with contacts outside of the region.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 10-05-2018, 02:27 PM   #42
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Default Could be really tough...

...I think population is not enough, year round, to support much any 'industry' there beyond what is there now. Why manufacture anything new, from machines to software to brooms, there vs access to more employees & talent near Nashua, Manchester, Portsmouth, Concord, etc? Unless the summer influx can be extended into a year round draw its just really difficult for me to imagine how Laconia rises to the top of anyones list for new business.
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:57 PM   #43
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Post Catch 22

  • Don't have the skilled workforce, so it is difficult to attract new businesses.
  • Don't have the businesses to attract the skilled workforce.

There are advantages to the area:
  1. Lifestyle afforded by the lake
  2. Generally, reasonable cost of living....check Boston..off the charts.
  3. No state income tax

There has to be a definitive catalyst to break the cycle. Right now, Laconia needs to build both the skilled workforce and attract the right businesses. Creating a university affiliation and a startup ecosystem would be one potential way to begin to break the cycle.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 10-05-2018, 03:30 PM   #44
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...I think population is not enough, year round, to support much any 'industry' there beyond what is there now. Why manufacture anything new, from machines to software to brooms, there vs access to more employees & talent near Nashua, Manchester, Portsmouth, Concord, etc? Unless the summer influx can be extended into a year round draw its just really difficult for me to imagine how Laconia rises to the top of anyones list for new business.
I agree that the lack of employees to fill manufacturing positions is a big problem. Another thing that has a substantial impact on trying to manufacture anything in this area is the location of the state. The cost of shipping or transporting is substantially higher because we are located in the northeast corner of the country. That is why so many large manufacturing companies are located in the central part of the country.
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:54 PM   #45
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I agree that the lack of employees to fill manufacturing positions is a big problem. Another thing that has a substantial impact on trying to manufacture anything in this area is the location of the state. The cost of shipping or transporting is substantially higher because we are located in the northeast corner of the country. That is why so many large manufacturing companies are located in the central part of the country.
exactly. car companies were in the upper midwest because the iron was there. shoe factories could run in Manchester because they got power from the river. today a place like NH needs jobs that don't require natural resources or shipping product. Education, biotech or technology in general are the first that come to mind.

CruCon appears to be a huge success story and there could be others like it with a little encouragement
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:18 AM   #46
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Default Winnipesaukee River, an urban river

About ten years ago, the city had a very nicely designed kayak/canoe/stand-up paddle board, hand carry launch ramp built on the Winnipesaukee River, opposite Sawyer's Jewelry, and I've never seen anyone use it?

It's just below the Avery Dam and close to the big intersection of Main St and Union Ave, or Routes 106 and 107.

Depending on time of year, dam outflow volume, and water temperature, the river is good fishing and very clean. About five different low clearance road over-passes or bridges cross over the run from the Avery Dam for 1 1/4 miles down to huge Lake Winnisquam, making a lot of the river unaccessable to many motor boats that will not fit under the low bridges.

Could be worth a look see for the local paddler looking for someplace new to explore ....... an urban river with old stone wall style embankments in the downtown, and earthen natural embankments just downstream from the downtown area.

www.downtowngymlaconia.com just recently opened, opposite the kayak launch ramp, so's maybe some of the athletically inclined may want to go hit the river on a sup ..... maybe sup yoga ..... and do that downward dog moving down river with the natural river flow .... you be paddl'n down dat river on a sup ..... low bridge ahead ..... got to kneel down to fit under dat bridge dere...... you be paddl'n down dat dere inner city lazy Winnipesaukee River ......mak'n some waves ...... yo!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnipesaukee_River

Paddling the Winnipesaukee River, downstream from Laconia, in Tilton: 2:21, July 9, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXWFQp72NH4 ...... more out in the country than the Laconia downtown section ........this is below Lake Winnisquam, which has a dam.
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:18 AM   #47
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Although many ideas are terrific, it's putting lipstick on a pig. The only way I would invest in downtown Laconia is to eliminate Section 8 housing and the transients walking and biking around with their backpacks. Once the degenerates off the street, and people feel safer going downtown, the improvements won't attract the business Laconia is seeking. Otherwise, I wouldn't invest a penny, either personal or through taxes.


I agree, section 8 housing needs to go and
transients don’t exactly attract people to walk around downtown.


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Old 10-17-2018, 04:22 PM   #48
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Default Deja Vu

Seems like a lot of the same issues when you read the threads about rejuvenating the Weirs. We saw a lot of the same arguments in Manchester. Twenty-five +/- years ago the SNHU arena was built amidst much controversy, and amid much city blight. The Manchester Monarchs were a huge success, filling nearly 10,000 seats when a much much smaller number would have been thought successful. Year round events there of all sorts. All up and down Elm St and surroundings, there are new businesses, many bars and restaurants and the area is thriving. The arena was a catalyst, built in part with some low cost city bonding as I recall. Malls are dying along with Sears and other brick and mortar stores, but downtowns are making a comeback, especially among millennials who want to walk to wherever.
An arena may not be the catalyst, but there may be one. (Who came up with the plan that Freeport, ME should have a downtown of outlet stores?)
The plan suggested by the OP is not a 12 month project. This is a city. Over the next 100 years you can do anything!
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:46 PM   #49
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I recall. Malls are dying along with Sears and other brick and mortar stores, but downtowns are making a comeback, especially among millennials who want to walk to wherever."
Interesting comment / observation. In the not to distant past, Sears at one time often was the "Downtown Anchor Store" in many small towns across America. Wonder if "Sears" will be able to recover from bankruptcy. Years ago before the actual real internet we know of today, they were kinda the internet of mail order goods. For many years it was both the Walmart and Amazon of its time.

Sears, the store that changed America, declares bankruptcy. ( 2 days ago)
https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/busin...tcy/index.html

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Old 10-17-2018, 06:26 PM   #50
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Interesting comment / observation. In the not to distant past, Sears at one time usually was the "Downtown Anchor Store" in many small towns across America. Wonder "Sears" will be able to recover from bankruptcy. Years ago before the actual real internet, they were kinda the internet of mail order goods.

Sears, the store that changed America, declares bankruptcy. ( 2 days ago)
https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/busin...tcy/index.html
Sears is a perfect example of a business model that didn't change with the times dying a slow and painful death.
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:42 PM   #51
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Manchester was a bad example as they experienced another shooting this past weekend! Unsure what should or can be done to the Laconia downtown at this point in time.


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Old 11-06-2018, 08:54 PM   #52
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Default Downtown

Interesting blog,
Downtown Laconia has many issues, and your ideas are great, here's the one caveat!!
Where's the beef, we own a home on Pickerel Cove our road is private the road leading to it is city owned, it needs lots of work, the culverts are slowly failing, the road needs constant grading, and the city has no money.
Have you driven around the city, notice the perpetual signs that say beware of PotHoles???
Can't say your ideas aren't great, they sound great, but in the end who's the beneficiary, what does it buy for my tax dollars, a decent road to my street, not.
Yea, downtown Laconia needs love, perhaps private investors need to be found with a eye to the future. Downtown Laconia could be a interesting revitalization but I sure don't think with taxpayers money.
For your info, Laconia, Taxes collected on Lake Winnipesaukee, Paugus Bay, Opechee, and Lake Winnisquam, many seasonal homes, minimal burden on education system, taxed at high waterfront rates and view rates.
Where's the Beef??????????????????
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:39 PM   #53
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Where's the Beef??????????????????
In the refrigerators at the section 8 homes.

Thanks for bringing this topic back to life.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:53 PM   #54
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In the refrigerators at the section 8 homes.

Thanks for bringing this topic back to life.
LOLOL.....LMAO.......section 8 has all the best stuff!!!
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