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Plan to demolish Hathaway House, redevelop lot approved

LACONIA — The Planning Board last night unanimously approved the proposal by Cafua Management Company, LLC to redevelop the remainder of the lot at 1092 Union Avenue where the Hathaway House now stands, effectively ensuring the imminent demolition of the Italianate mansion.
In 2000 Cafua purchased the property and built a Dunkin' Donuts outlet on the southern portion of the lot. Last September, the firm applied for a permit to demolish the Hathaway House, sparking a frantic effort to preserve it. After meeting with Greg Nolan of Cafua, to discuss alternatives to demolition the Heritage Commission ultimately conceded that if the building was to be preserved, it would have to relocated. The commission sought a private developer interested in moving, renovating and owning the building, without success.
Before the Planning Board voted, Dorothy Duffy of the Heritage Commission reminded the members that "we do not have to give up our heritage." She said the community will know what it has lost "when that lovely building is razed to the ground," adding "I'll be there crying when it is."
"I spent many fine hours in that beautiful building," Larry Guild of the Planning Board recalled. "I find it very difficult to see people come in from other places and destroy our historic buildings." However, he assured his colleagues he would vote to approve the plan requiring the demolition of the Hathaway House because it met all the requirements and conditions.
Bill Contardo of the Planning Board asked Duffy why, when in the years since the building was threatened, more was not done to preserve it. She explained that because the community cherished private property rights, the Heritage Commission was not formed until 2009 and only this year was granted a budget of a mere $200. Planning Director Shanna Saunders told Contardo that federal funding for historic preservation shrank significantly with the onset of the recession, but conceded "I'm not sure the community stepped up."
Cafua plans to construct a 4,850-square-foot retail building on the northern half of the 1.6-acre lot while reconfiguring the access to the drive-up window at Dunkin' Donuts. Martin Gross of MHF Design Consultants of Salem, New Hampshire said that building would be divided into three units, two of 1,650-square-feet and one of 1,550-square-feet and would be served by 27 parking spaces, 11 more than required. At the recommendation of the architectural committee gables and cupolas were added to the original design, along with brickwork on the facade.
Gross explained that vehicles will enter the site through the existing driveway at the center of the lot then turn left to Dunkin' Donuts or right to the new building. Traffic will exit the property at its southern and northern corners. Gross said to reduce the congestion in the lane for the drive-up window at Dunkin' Donuts, which can stretch on to Union Avenue, a loop will be added at the northwest corner of the site, lengthening the drive-up lane and doubling the number of vehicles it can accommodate. At the same time, delivery trucks, which have parked in the entryway alongside the Hathaway House would be assigned a dedicated lane to circle the building and park on the south side of the lot.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 01:11

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Correction: DOT to improve intersection of Jamestown, South Roads in Belmont

BELMONT — An article printed in yesterday's edition incorrectly described the location of an intersection slated for improvement. The intersection the state Department of Transportation plans to improve with federal highway safety money is that of Jamestown Road and South Road.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:33

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Sidewalk Sale Opens Today in Downtown Laconia

LACONIA — A summer tradition returns to Downtown Laconia today in the form of sidewalk sales which will run 10-5 every day through Saturday.

''Everybody's taking part and we're looking forward seeing lots of shoppers,'' says Jeanne Howe Compton of New England Porch Rockers, located on Pleasant Street at the Shops at Vintage Row.
John Moriarty of the Laconia Downtown Initiative said that the Sidewalk Sale Days are about more than just back-to-school items and encompass the many distinctive shops in the Downtown area. The variety, he said, will show that ''we're here for the whole community.''
Kale Poland of MC Cycle says that the four-day sale will provide cycling enthusiasts with a chance to look ahead to fall cycling which will mean fatter tires and the advent of mountain biking season.
Jim Daubenspeck, owner of Daub's Cobbler Shop, says he recently changed the name of the business from LaBelle's Shoe Repair and is proud to offer made in America shoes as part of his business.
''We have a line of ladies' shoes which are made in Bedford. Our men's boat shoes are made in Lewiston, Maine and we have a line of comfort shoes made in Aurora, New York. Our work boots are made in Wisconsin,'' says Daubenspeck.
He says that the shoe polish sold in his store is also local, coming from Rochester Shoe Tree in Ashland.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 01:13

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National Night Out event in Belmont signals shift to approachable, community-oriented police force

BELMONT – About 150 people, most of them children, gathered at Sargent Park last night for this town's second annual National Night Out – a nation wide community outing to bond local police departments with their citizenry.

For Police Chief Mark Lewandoski, Belmont's event was a way to make the Belmont Police more approachable.

"We've definitely moved into a mode where we want to be more community friendly," Lewandoski said as he looked around at all of the children playing and talking to his police officers. "We want our officers to be integrated into the community."

Lewandoski said he wants people to be comfortable reaching out to members of the police department and calling them when they need them.

One woman named Katie had five children with her who were all enjoying the bouncy house, the ice cream and the hotdogs.

"I want my kids to know the police and to learn a little bit about them," she said. She added that all of her children were looking forward to the K-9 demonstration – this time featuring two K-9s from the N.H. State Police – a drug dog and a patrol dog.

"Next year," said Lewandoski, "we'll have a dog of our own."

Last month, selectmen voted unanimously to purchase and train a K-9 and make Master Patrol Officer Evan Boulanger the department's K-9 handler.

For Boulanger, who was the primary organizer of last night's party, the event was about getting to know the people in the community and for the people in the community to get to know him.

He said about 18 months ago, Lewandoski told his department that it was going to be more focused on the community and the people who live in it.

Boulanger said people by nature are reluctant to change and he and the rest of the department "dug in their heels a little bit" but within six months, he said the entire department was 100-percent community focused.

He said now when he stops into a store or a business on a shift or goes to a park and visits with the people there, they all know his name.

"Guess what, some of them actually like me," he said.

National Night Out for him is like "cop therapy."

"This shows us why we really do this job," he said. "There's a time to kick down doors and a time to be a member of this community."

Last night in Belmont, it was all about the community.

Helping with National Night Out were the Belmont Rotary, the Belmont Fire Department, the Belmont Selectmen, the N.H. Dairy Association that helped the department provide ice cream for everyone, and the Driving Toward Zero organization that aims to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents to zero.

National Night Out is an event begun 31 years ago by the National Town Watch Association. Now held in communities throughout the country, National Night Out is designed to foster stronger relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:09

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