More than 150 people, including city officials, politicians, business owners, and fans of Main Street, participated in a community conversation about the future of Downtown Concord on Nov. 7.
Later this month, the Downtown Complete Streets Improvement Project Advisory Committee, put together by Mayor Jim Bouley to find out what should be done to improve Concord’s main business district in the wake of a multimillion dollar federal grant to reconstruct and improve Main Street, will issue its findings to the Concord City Council.
The event, according to facilitator Michele Holt-Shannon of NH Listens, was to give the advisory group some constructive ideas in a comfortable, constructive environment before coming to any decision, so that people who might not be comfortable testifying at a hearing had a chance to influence the process.
After introductions and an explanation of the process, the attendees separated into groups to discuss specific interests and ideas about improving the downtown.
For nearly an hour, the groups explored specific options and ideas for improvement. The ideas ranged from greening the byway to improving safety, offering better lighting, making Concord a destination, and even creating an app for Main Street.
There were concerns about parking, as always, and positive comments about the heated sidewalks and streets that will come when Concord Steam reconstructs its sewer pipes on Main Street. The ideas will be collected by the facilitators and submitted in a report to the advisory board.
As facilitator Bruce Mallory noted at the end, those in attendance offered 225 “person hours” of input towards the community conversation.
“This is what democracy looks like,” he said.