Concord Lands $4.71M in Fed Money
TIGER grant will go towards designing and rebuilding the city’s Main Street; Mayor Bouley says the money will have "long lasting impact."
Shaheen highlighted the grant as a way of upgrading the Main Street, reducing traffic congestion, and improving safety for pedestrians and motorists. She noted that city officials hoped that the improvements would reduce vacancy rates and increased property values. About 82 direct jobs will be created when the project is completed.
“I’m thrilled to announce that funding has been granted for a long-awaited improvement project for downtown Concord, the proud home of our state capitol and an economic hub for central New Hampshire,” Shaheen said in a statement. “By improving the downtown infrastructure, this grant will provide a tremendous boost for Main Street and the regional economy.”
Earlier this year, civic leaders ramped up promotion of the improvements and lobbied federal officials and others video YouTube videos.
The application for the TIGER grant used the promotion of the controversial Re-Thinking Main Street redesign plan, an initiative promoted by Main Street Concord (now Intown Concord), that proposes to reduce Main Street to three lanes from four. The plan was hailed by some residents but panned by many merchants in meetings and surprised some that it was even mentioned in the TIGER grant application. The Concord City Council did not hold a public hearing about the proposal but, instead, accepted the plan when it was presented at a meeting.
“This is a great opportunity for the city,” said Mayor Jim Bouley. “This was an effort by many and it truly paid off. [Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood] saw, as we did, the benefit of the community.”
Bouley said the project was “much bigger” than just improving Main Street.
“The is much bigger than a transportation project,” he said. “This is an economic development project and this has the potential to have a long lasting impact on our downtown for many years to come.”
The grant money will cover a large portion of the improvements, if later approved. Other money would come from the city.
In the press release, members of the business community praised the grant with Steve Duprey, the president of Foxfire Management Company and owner of the Smile Building, calling it “transformative for Concord,” and Tim Sink, the president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, stating that the grant was “incredibly good news” at a time when “this type of investment is much needed.”