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TIF panel recommends spending $400k on WOW Trail

LACONIA — The committee managing the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District will recommend borrowing $1,550,000 to fund seven projects, including one section of the WOW Trail and three of the riverwalk, when the City Council meets tonight.

Tax increment financing allows municipalities to delineate TIF districts, then apply a portion of the future tax revenues that accrue from the increase in assessed value generated by new construction, expansion or renovation of property in the district to finance public improvements by either paying cash or servicing borrowings, within that district. There are two TIF districts in the city, one downtown and another in Lakeport, and a third under consideration at The Weirs.

The boundaries of the downtown TIF district enclose an area roughly ringed by Fair Street, New Salem Street, Church Street, Union Avenue and Court Street. The district included 287 properties spread over 145 acres, which together represented a total assessed value of more than $70 million when the district was established in 2004.

The committee recommends investing $275,000 to improve the gateway to downtown at the Main Street Bridge, $400,000 to build the WOW Trail between Main Street and Fair Street, $25,000 to add signage and kiosks to the riverwalk and WOW Trail, $181,000 to connect the Main Street Bridge to the riverwalk at the Landmark Inn, $121,800 to extend the riverwalk through the Walgreen's property, $200,000 to create a pocket park where Water Street joins Pleasant Street and $300,000 to carry the riverwalk from City Hall to Church Street.

In addition, the committee is expected to recommend contributing up to $35,000 toward laying a larger water line to the property formerly housing the Evangelical Baptist Church on Veterans Square to facilitate its planned conversion to a restaurant, which will require installing sprinklers in the building.

The TIF account has a current balance of $311,353. City Manager Scott Myers projects the district to add $173,687 in revenue in 2014 and an additional amount each year thereafter for a total of $4,250,212 during the next 20 years. The committee proposes to borrow $1,550,000 at an estimated interest rate of 4.249-percent over 20 years, leaving the TIF fund with a balance of $2,080,123 when the debt is retired.

The effect of these projects would be to complete the stretch of riverwalk along the north bank of the Winnipesaukee River from the Fair Street Bridge to the Church Street Bridge, except for the crossing of Beacon Street West. Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the connection would be made when Chinburg Builders completes the commercial development planned at the Beacon Street West Condominiums. Ultimately a second stretch of riverwalk is planned to extend along the southern bank of the river and join the first at the two bridges to form a continuous loop.

The committee estimates that the cost of completing the loop by building 11 segments of the riverwalk along the south bank of the river would approach $2-million. Along with the riverwalk, the committee is considering adding an exterior staircase and security cameras to the parking garage and constructing public restrooms downtown and a footbridge across the river.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 01:57

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Charity House draws considerable interest during 1st weekend on market

LACONIA — A home which was built by local contractors to benefit the annual WLNH Children's Auction is already drawing interest from prospective buyers.
Opened to the public for the first time over the weekend as the featured property in the 2013 Lakes Region N.H. Parade of Homes Tour, the 2,200-square-foot, three bedroom home on Turner Way in the Windermere Ridge development off from Parade Road was built by members of the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association (LRBRA) .
Dale Squires, executive director of the LRBRA, said that dozens of local firms have pitched in on the project, the most ambitious ever undertaken by the group, with the net proceeds from the sale going to the 32nd annual auction in December.
He said that the craftsman, bungalow style home, which is priced at $399,000, has drawn interest from a number of people.
''We had 300 people through here Saturday and Sunday and several of them came back a second time. That's a good sign,'' said Squires, who was hoping that the number of people making the home tour would reach 500 by the end of the Columbus Day weekend.
Among those walking the public through the home were Bob Glassett of Pella Windows and Doors, treasurer of the LRBRA, who came up with the idea for building the home as a fundraiser for the children's auction and is well known for his offer of ''wicked good deals'' he made in television ads for Uncle Hilde's, a Tilton lumber dealer, several years ago.
Glassett, who served as on-site supervisor throughout the project, said that one of the biggest boosts to the entire project came from Mike Hayward of Hayward Construction, who volunteered to serve as general contractor.
Crews from Hayward and Company Log and Timber Homes completely framed and roofed the home in less than a week in mid-July, enabling a jump start on other parts of the project .
Hayward, who was also at the home over the weekend, said that his crews spent a total of 270 hours working on the project and that he logged innumerable hours himself.
''I'm really pleased with how it turned out and the quality of workmanship that is evident throughout the entire home,'' said Hayward.
Patti Phelps of All in the Details, LLC - Interior Design, said of the finished home that she and other interior designers were receiving a lot of praise from those who toured the home for how wonderful it looked but that it was all the work done by others which helped set the stage.
''We had the fun part, decorating the home, that was highly visible. But all those who volunteered for work on other parts of the project, from the foundation, to drywall and electrical made that possible.'' said Phelps.
Others who helped her included The Home Beautiful, Decorative Interiors and Sandra Curtis Designs, while the Harris Family Furniture store completely furnished the home, all of the interior decorations, furnishings, artwork, window treatments and supplemental floor coverings available for optional purchase, creating a move-in-ready residence for any growing family or retiring couple.
AM HVAC, PENCO Plumbing & Heating, Gilford Well, and Baron's Major Brands Appliances all made donations of products and services.
Others who contributed included Morin Electric, which wired the home; Pella Windows and Doors; F.W. Webb; Middleton Lumber; New Hampshire Hardwoods; and Gilford Well; along with several builders and craftsmen — Mask Construction, Twin Oaks Construction, Alan Mann Home Improvements, K.A. Clason Fine Woodworking and Custance Brothers Woodworking.
The association purchased the two-acre lot in the Windermere Ridge subdivision at a discounted price and Franklin Savings Bank financed the purchase of the lot and construction of the house.
Recently John Groesser of JG New Age Interiors enlisted four of his competitors — Sherkanowski Drywall, Wyatt Drywall, Cullen Drywall and Vergato Drywall — to do in one week what would have taken one contractor three weeks to do in order for interior painting to be completed by volunteers in mid-September.
Chris Burke Stone Masonry and Belknap Landscape Company combined to install functional outdoor living spaces.
The home is being marketed by Chris Kelly of Re/Max Bayside, who will take a reduced commission to market and sell the home.
Laconia Mayor Michael Seymour, who is a member of the board of directors of the Children's Auction, said last month that he is tremendously impressed by the support the local builders group gained for the project and the generosity of businesses which made donations or provided materials and furnishings at deep discounts.
''It's really an awesome project,'' said Seymour.

CAPTION: slugged Charity Home
Bob Glassett of Pella Windows and Doors, treasurer of the The Lakes Region Builders & Remodelers Association; Mike Hayward of Hayward Construction, who volunteered as general contractor for the WLNH Children's Auction Charity House, and Patti Phelps of All in the Details Interior Design, greeted people touring the 2,200 square foot craftsman style bungalow home over the weekend. (Roger Amsden/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 13 December 2013 05:40

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Volume of trash picked up at curbside down 11%

LACONIA — In the 12 weeks since a mandatory recycling program was introduced in July, the tonnage of solid waste collected at the curbside, transported to Concord and incinerated has fallen by 113.64 tons, or 11-percent, from 1,026.71 tons during the same period in 2012 to 913.07 tons this year.

At a cost of approximately $150 per ton, the cost of collecting, hauling and disposing of solid waste during the first quarter was reduced by $17,046, from $154,006 in 2012 to $136,960 in 2013.

City Manager Scott Myers will tonight report the results of the mandatory recycling program in the first quarter of the fiscal year to the City Council. In a memorandum to the council, he explained that the volumes of recycling and trash fluctuated throughout the year, rising during summer months and around major holidays.

The 2013-2014 city budget appropriated approximately $589,000 to collect, haul and dispose of household trash left at the curb, which represents 3,925 tons at a cost of $150 a ton. The budget projects that the tonnage of solid waste collected at the curbside will be reduced by 575 tons, sparing $86,250 in costs.

Since recyclable materials are collected every other week, solid waste tonnage in tracked on 26 two-week cycles. To meet the budgeted target, the tonnage of solid waste collected during each cycle must average 151 tons; that is, to meet the target in any given cycle, collections must total 151 or tons or less.

During the six cycles of the first quarter collections averaged 152.2 tons. However, the tonnage collected has declined from 160.53 tons to 140.51 tons between the first cycle and the last while the average has fallen from 157.46 tons during the first three cycles to 146.89 tons during the last three cycles. Moreover, the the tonnage collected in each of the six cycles was less than that collected in the same period a year ago.

On annualized basis, the first quarter results represent a reduction in curbside collection of solid waste of 3,652 tons and a reduction in collection, haulage and disposal costs of $68,184. Although both figures are shy of budgeted targets, since the introduction of mandatory recycling in July, the volume of recyclables appears to be increasing and the the volume of solid waste decreasing, a trend that indicates over the course of the fiscal year the targets will not be out of reach.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 01:42

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Fun & fried dough, yes, but fair is still about agriculture

SANDWICH — With over 26,000 people showing up for the first two days of the Sandwich Fair and a bright and sunny Columbus Day on Monday, the annual Sandwich Fair was poised to approach the 40,000 attendance mark in its 103rd season.
''We had 15,000 people Sunday and lot of entrants in our annual Grand Parade. This year's fair theme was Celebrating 250 Years of Sandwich History and we had a lot of floats reflecting that theme and that made it kind of special,'' said fair office manager Rhea York.
She said 11,000 people turned out in less than ideal weather on Saturday and that there was a good turnout for Monday's oxen pull with 30 teams signed up to compete.
''I don't know yet how many we had on Monday, but it was from everything I saw and heard and very good day.''
A new event this year, a Children's Scavenger Hunt, proved popular according to York, who said that the skillet toss, which was introduced several years ago, continues to be one of the most popular events at the fair.
She said the three-day fair averages around 30,000 in attendance and has drawn as many as 45,000 and is the last on the annual calendar of the state's agricultural fairs.
There's always lots of food, ranging from fried dough and giant donuts to buffalo burgers and sausage grinders with peppers and onions at the fair, along with dozens of carnival rides and games.
But the heart of the fair is still agricultural, and a lot of attention is paid to young exhibitors who are showing their farm animals and having them judged.
Alex Bachelder, 12, of Pittsfield is in her third year of taking part in fitting and showmanship competitions and walked her Holstein ''Rattle'' around the show ring under the watchful eye of show ring judge Katie Putnam of Charlestown,.
''I spend a lot of time working with the cattle at Spooky View Farm to get ready for the shows,'' says Bachelder, who has already taken part in he fairs at Stratham, Hopkinton and Deerfield this year.
She's a member of the Merrimack County 4-H Cub and says that her cousins are also experienced in the fair's show ring.''We always have a good time at the fairs,'' she says.
Carissa LaBonte of Loudon is only eight but she was having a good time explaining to people who made their way through the cattle show area what made the shaggy Scottish Highlander cattle she was with so special.
''They're one of the oldest breeds in the world and can survive in cold weather,'' she told people who asked about the Highlanders.

Eight-year-old Carissa LaBonte of the Highland Farm in Loudon sits with with some of the farm's Scottish Highlander cattle at the 103rd annual Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 01:39

Hits: 275

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