Aldermen approve West Side park land sale to community center advocates


A aspect of the house as witnessed from the parking lot of Parkside Middle College. Photograph/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday night, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen considered a piece of land just south of Parkside Center Faculty as surplus and then decided that it is in the most effective interest of the city to market it for $600,000 to a group trying to get to construct a new neighborhood heart on the web-site named soon after late philanthropist and businessman Mark Stebbins.

The plan for the neighborhood center arose late final year, with the piece of land identified by the team in April. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Committee on Lands and Properties advisable the sale in a 4-1 June vote, with Alderman At-Significant Joseph Kelly Levasseur voting in opposition and Ward 5 Alderman Anthony Sapienza saying he only tentatively supported the evaluate.

Tuesday night’s meeting began with a stream of general public remark in favor and in opposition to the sale, subsequent an hour-long group assembly with neighbors at Parkside.

Proponents of the local community middle, which is currently expected to be shared similarly among the Manchester Boys and Ladies Club and Amoskeag Health and fitness, reported at Parkside and once again on Tuesday night they have to have assist from neighbors of the proposed task. Nonetheless, quite a few neighbors in attendance on Tuesday night time felt dismissed through the process to this level and that the organizers at the Parkside meeting offered the venture as a foregone conclusion and were not actually intrigued in community input.

The proposed parcel outlined in pink, just south of Parkside Center School. Screenshot/Metropolis of Manchester GIS

Most opponents of the sale were being not opposed to the intentions of the proponents, with numerous believing that relatives healthcare and children’s leisure companies that would be offered by the proposed heart would advantage the city’s West Aspect.

However, neighbors speaking in opposition requested why the center could not be positioned elsewhere on the West Aspect, such as unused portions of Manchester West High College. Neighbors also voiced stress with the perceived rapidity of the sale in comparison to the disposal of other metropolis assets that has long gone by a ask for for proposals process these types of as Hallsville Elementary University, with some asking that the selection be delayed until finally much more facts can be provided to stay away from unexpected implications and any other proposals could be introduced.

Perhaps the biggest place of opposition from the neighbors arrived out of fears of the community center’s impression on the local community garden located at the internet site and the absence of equivalent parkland close by as nicely as traffic impacts and the effect of unsavory aspects.

Patrick Binder, a volunteer with the We Heart West local community group that spends time cleansing parks on the West Facet, claimed that the park land becoming mentioned was the only just one on the West Side without the need of drunken men and women or empty needles or trash.

“(The proponents) by now have a eyesight and a aspiration and their goals and visions are gorgeous, but (why) when it comes to destroying a city park to make it happen and getting a special rate on the land that was not available to me?,” he reported. “You know, I might want to actually establish a neighborhood middle, why I simply cannot I invest in that piece of land for $600,000?”

Neighbors also expressed issue with the anticipated dimension of the facility, two floors of 20,000 square feet for every flooring, not like a parking good deal. Job facilitator Jeanine Tousignant informed Manchester Ink Link that this figure would make up only 12 % of the overall space of the proposed land parcel.

Tousignant and Job Steering Committee Member Mike Reed also responded to problems from neighbors pertaining to the perceived speed and stress over a lack of information and facts by stating it was unclear whether the land would be viable as an solution until finally the Lands and Buildings vote, producing any proposed renderings or blueprints untimely.

Proponents of the sale expressed the lack of comparable companies at this time in position on the West Facet that would be provided by the proposed middle, specially for West Side inhabitants without the need of dependable transportation. Supporters also famous that the town would not have to lead any money towards the venture, with organizers of the proposed middle anticipating to raise $17 million that the metropolis would or else not be equipped to acquire exclusively for this objective.

At-Significant Board of Faculty Committee Member James O’Connell feared that if the metropolis did not settle for this opportunity, it would bring about a chilling effect in the long run for other philanthropic endeavours that seek out to help metropolis inhabitants.

“We really should be greeting this with open arms, smiling faces and expressing that we will need you and we thank you for what you are doing already and we hope you do far more in our metropolis,” he mentioned.

Alderman At-Huge June Trisciani makes the movement on Tuesday. Photograph/Andrew Sylvia

Alderman At-Significant June Trisiciani created the movement to designate the land as surplus and sell the land to the organizers, noting the track record of the Manchester Boys and Women Club in the city as nicely as the truth that the facility would have to go via the Setting up Board and the Zoning Board of Changes as well as other actions.

The position of the Manchester Boys and Women Club in the undertaking wooed the help of Ward 10 Alderman Monthly bill Barry and At-Big Alderman Joseph Kelly Levasseur, both of whom were being associates of the Boys and Women Club in their youth.

Levasseur stated he felt conflicted supporting the proposal specified the issues of the neighbors, but additional the potent status of Amoskeag Well being in addition to the Manchester Boys and Girls Club with his decision.

“The venture alone is perfect for the West Aspect, but imperfect for the neighborhood. In all my years on the Setting up Board, it was uncommon to see this many abutters appear out and be upset,” he stated. “My hope is (the proponents) will be as light as feasible and get the job done with the neighbors.”

Aldermen were also delighted with pledges by the proponents not to take away the community yard from the web-site, with Anthony Sapienza stating that his concerns from the Lands and Properties Committee have been sated immediately after clauses in the Buy and Sale settlement of the land would revert possession of the land back again to the city if the website is ever employed for anything other than non-financial gain social and health solutions for youth and people proposed by the facility’s supporters.

Ward 8 Alderman Ed Sapienza was the only voice of direct opposition to the proposal, believing that the system must have gone by way of a ask for for proposal.

The motion was permitted with a non-unanimous voice vote, with Ward 12 Alderman Erin George Kelly abstaining thanks to a conflict of curiosity.



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