Plan to reconfigure part of Veterans Square on City Council agenda on Monday

LACONIA — Planning Director Shanna Saunders will present a plan to reconfigure the west end of Veteran's Square to the City Council when it meets Monday night.

The plan evolved from a plan to open Beacon Street East and Beacon Street West to two-way traffic and improve the intersections around the loop prepared by TEC, Inc. of Lawrence, Massachusetts, which the council soundly rejected. When the First Congregational Church of Laconia embarked on a capital improvement project the opportunity arose to revisit the reconfiguration of the intersection where Veteran's Square joins Pleasant Street.

As proposed the plan would convert the intersection of Pleasant with Veteran's Square and Beacon Street West into a simple four-way junction by eliminating the circle that enables west bound traffic through Veteran's Square to reverse direction by rounding. In place of the circle, the curb in front of the First Congregational Church would relocated between 60 feet and 40 feet forward into Veteran's Square but there would still be three lanes — two west bound and one east bound.

The five angled parking spaces in front of the First Congregational Church would be relocated at the new curb. The driveway between the First Congregational Church and the Evangelical Baptist Church, which is being converted to the restaurant, would be expanded to a handicap-access turnaround and four angled parking spaces in front of the Evangelical Baptist Church would be retained. Likewise, the six parking spaces on the north side of Veteran's Square, alongside the railroad station, would remain.

The pavement and sidewalk would be removed from the area between the new and existing curb and sidewalk, which would become a landscaped sublawn, bordered by the relocated curb on Veteran's Square and an extended curb on Pleasant Street. The memorial and flagpole would be relocated from the circle to the sublawn, to which benches would be added.

Other than the change to the flow of traffic through Veteran's Square the traffic pattern would remain the same. Traffic entering Veteran's Square from Pleasant Street could turn right on to Beacon Street West, which would remain one-way, left into Veteran's Square or proceed down Pleasant Street, which would also remain one-way. The plan does not include traffic signals at the reconfigured intersection.

Saunders has been discussing the plan with property owners and business operators in and around Veteran's Square for several months.