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Town seeks Gregg's help for rest of Main Street

July 29, 2009
LITTLETON—With Main Street well underway, the town is looking to U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg for money to help pay for rebuilding the second half of Main Street and moving the town offices to the Opera House.

Gregg was instrumental in securing federal funds to pay for the ongoing reconstruction project, money that the town was able to hold onto for years of delays in the project.

"Senator, at the risk of seeming greedy, we ask for your help in obtaining a portion of the funding for one or both projects," selectmen wrote in a July 22 letter to Gregg.

When the town received $3 million of federal funds back when the project was first proposed, it was to pay for the entire length of Main Street. After delays and money spent on planning, the remaining $2.2 million last year was only enough to pay for a portion. Despite securing more funds before this year's town meeting vote, the current project will only rebuild Main Street from the Opera House to the Post Office.

As noted in the letter to Gregg, 95 percent of the planning for Main Street Part II is completed. This would finish reconstructing Main Street from the Post Office to the corner with Meadow Street. It was on the town meeting warrant last year, but would have been paid for entirely by town tax revenues. It failed.

The selectmen are also looking for Gregg's help to get funding to pay for putting the town offices into the recently completed Opera House. The selectmen noted in their letter that it would cost an estimated $5,000 to move the town offices out of their current location above Laconia Savings Bank. These funds would include refurbishing space inside the historic building as well as buying new furniture, as most of the current furniture the town uses belongs to the bank.

The town pays about $7,000 annually for the use its current space above the bank.

During last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, the board authorized Town Manager Chuck Connell to begin planning a design-build proposal to refurbish space in the Opera House for the offices. This would be done using only current town resources, as there are no funds in the budget to hire an architect, selectmen noted.

Connell presented a hand-drawn diagram made by a town employee of what the employees envision for the space inside the building.

No timeframe was given for when Connell would present his proposal, though the selectmen said they would like an article on next year's warrant for town meeting requesting funds for engineering. In 2011 they hope to have a warrant article authorizing the construction.

The same day the selectmen sent a letter to Gregg, they also sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes seeking their assistance getting federal funds for alarm and sprinkler systems for town buildings.

Martin Lord Osman
Tilton School
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