Concord has been rated one of the safest and best places to live, not only in New Hampshire, but in the country.
Now that we have all proudly declared the redevelopment of downtown Concord a great success, it is crucial that we begin to think big about keeping the forward momentum.
Over the past decade we have come such a long way towards building upon our assets and creating a destination downtown. More bright lights lie on the horizon, like the proposed redevelopment of a now decaying Concord Theatre into a flexible, live, thriving entertainment venue. This project, a partnership between developer Steve Duprey and Capitol Center for the Arts, would seat up to 300 people and create another unique draw to the Capital City. Both partners have an outstanding track record in their respective areas of expertise, so the odds are good that their vision to renew one of Concord's assets will become a reality.
We have another tremendous opportunity before us that would have a major impact on Concord businesses—design is currently underway for the expansion of I-93 through Bow and Concord. While construction may be several years out, some very important decisions are now on the table. If we think big and act boldly, we can correct sins of the past that have created an unflattering and unwelcoming image of Concord from I-93. In other words, we can turn Concord’s backside into Concord’s new front door. With tens of thousands of cars passing by each day there is much to be gained here. Think about it. We have a beautiful river on one side and a beautiful downtown on the other. The potential is fantastic but so far we have done a miserable job advertising these assets to potential visitors. Cleaning up the corridor, adding creative landscaping and improving access to the river from downtown could be the most transformative actions we can take to showcase a destination city and welcome visitors. Redeveloping Concord's untapped opportunity corridor would also offer huge bonus potential to Concord taxpayers in the long run. If planned properly, we could open up a significant number of acres for new construction, in the heart of Concord’s highest value property district. There are certainly challenges (like moving the rail line) but the infrastructure is in place and the proximity to I-93 and downtown Concord makes this very attractive.
This is an exciting time for our community and our region. The pieces are in place. We have the talent and the leadership with vision. But we must act boldly. The future is bright!
Tim Sink is the President of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.