Market-rate apartment buildings are first built in Laconia since the 1970s

LACONIA — Dick Anagnost of Anagnost Properties of Manchester, who is developing Apple Ridge Apartments on Provencal Road, said yesterday that he expects the first building to be ready for occupancy in December and the second building a month later.

Provencal Road branches off from Mile Hill Road, just outside the Laconia Bypass.

The complex, constructed on 11.75 acres overlooking the bypass, consists of two building, each with 48 units. One building, with 8 three-bedroom units, 37 two-bedroom units and three one-bedroom units, has been leased to nearby Lakes Region Community College to serve as a dormitory, which for the first time will enable the college to enroll residential students. The second building, with eight three bedroom units, 39 two bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit, will be offered at market rents. All the units are 984-square-feet in size.

Anagnost said that apart from the buildings themselves he brought municipal water and sewer service and a natural gas supply to the site as well as reconstructed Provencal Road. He estimated that the project represents an investment of $10 million.

Anagnost anticipates that most of the demand for the units will come from 29 to 35 year olds and 62 to 75 year olds. He expects the new inventory to fill relatively quickly as residents of older units move into them. As vacancies increase at other properties, landlords could be faced with lowering the rents or improving their properties to compete.

Anagnost Properties has designed a third building, designed for 18 rental units on an abutting 3.66-acre lot off Apple Ridge Road, but has yet to present the project to the Planning Board of its approval.

The market-rate rental units are among the first built in the city since the 1970s.

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City's first general enrollment pre-school set for November startup at Pleasant Street School

LACONIA — Preparations for a pilot program for a four-hour pre-school are nearly compete at the Pleasant Street School.

The program, said Principal Dave Levesque, will be the first pre-school program in Laconia that doesn't target special needs students, who are entitled to pre-school services under a federal Title 1 grant, and the only one this year that will serve children without special needs. It is funded partially through the School District and partially through a state grant.

"We want to get young students in our building earlier," he said.

Levesque said the class, which will be taught by Kiersten Foster, will be offered first to four-year old children who have older siblings in the building. If there is any additional room for the 12 to 16 projected students, he said it will be offered next to residents in the catchment area for Pleasant Street School. It will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and parents will have to provide transportation for their children.

Levesque said the goal is to have this program running by November 1 and to expand 4-hour pre-school to the entire district within the next three years.

"It's an academic curriculum with academic play," said Foster, who is originally from Maine and who came to the School District from Lakes Region Community Services. She said all children are screened in the same way kindergarten students are screened.

She said she plans on having an assistant because they want to keep the student-teacher ratio low. While working with the school to set up the program, Foster has also been helping in the other grades and has made friends with those children as well.

The classroom Levesque set aside for the program is ideal in his mind because it has an exit directly on to the playground, has it's own bathroom, and is relatively self-contained yet near the kindergarten classrooms.

He said the truly unique portion of the Pleasant Street School pre-K program is that it is a parent- and community-based and part of the School District.

"At least once a month our plan is to have a parent activity from 1 to 2:30 p.m. that involves local community service agencies," said Levesque. "Another part of our program is to have parents connect monthly."

He said the School District wants to help parents give their children the things they need at home and that's why the community-family portion is embedded in the program.

"We believe if parents are invested early (in their children's education) that they will continue to be invested," Levesque said. "We want them ready for kindergarten."

"We want all of them at parades and assemblies other school and community events," he said.

The School District reached out to parents yesterday through letters in the "Friday folder" that goes to all Pleasant Street School parents and posters have been placed throughout the city.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their 4-year olds in this program should call Pleasant Street School at 524-2168.

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140+ volunteers answer call for Day of Caring

LACONIA — Nearly 150 volunteers fanned across the Lakes Region yesterday to lend a hand to nearly 30 nonprofit agencies — eight of them in Laconia, undertaking some 65 projects on the annual Day of Caring of the Granite United Way Central Region, sponsored by AFL-Noyes of Belmont.

Aqualogic, Inc. of Gilford partnered with the city's Conservation Commission to remove trash and debris from the upper reach of the Winnipesaukee River above the Avery Dam. John Jude of Aqualogic deployed the craft he uses to remove milfoil from water bodies, along with two divers — his son Dominic and Wayne Kreiensieck — who worked together with Scott McPhie of the Planning Department, Michael Foote of the Conservation Commission and Lisa Morin of the Belknap County Conservation District.

By the lunch hour Dominic Jude said they had pulled three bicycles, a wheelbarrow and a shopping cart from the river, along with several barrels of smaller items like bottles, cans and hub caps. Foote, who cruised the river in a canoe, said that several larger items, among them a 55-gallon drum and pickup truck cap, were marked with buoys and will be removed when the water level is drawn down next month.

Meanwhile, a team from Hannaford supermarket was busy at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lake Region. In the basement, Rose Lafamme and Peg Frankel spent the day moving the art room to new quarters where there is a working sink and organizing a myriad of art supplies and materials. Together they meticulously sifted and sorted buttons, beads, crayons, colored pencils and other supplies, placing each in its own container and arranging them neatly on shelves. "We're getting through this," Laflamme said, wondering how long everything would remain in its place.

Upstairs Mike Harrison, an experienced who maintains the meat department at the supermarket while pursuing his education in health science and administration, cleaned and stained a pair of picnic tables. Suspecting he might not finish the job, Mariah Hoffman, unit director of the club, told him not to worry, since the boys and girls from Laconia Middle School would relish putting the final touches to the tables. Harrison said that employees from Hannaford often volunteer, adding that recently he and others ran five kilometers in support of the troops.

Other teams did painting, landscaping, cleaning and repairing at the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy, Laconia Area Community Land Trust, Salvation Army and Carey House, Lakes Region Child Care, Belknap Mill, New Hampshire Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul.

The day began with a breakfast for volunteers at the St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall and ended with a reception at the Christmas island Steak House.

 CAPTION: Dominic Jude, a diver with Aqualogic of Gilford, scours the bed of the Winnipesaukee River near the trestle on Messer Street searching for trash and debris. He, together with his father John and fellow diver Wayne Kreiensieck, volunteered to work with the Conservation Commission to clean up the river on the Day of Caring, sponsored by Granite United Way. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

CAPTION: Peg Frankel (left) and Rose Laflammer (right) of Hannaford's volunteered to relocate and reorganize the art room at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region on the Day of Caring. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch) 

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