Gilford hopes to create walking trails in Lakes Business Park

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — In order to complete a requirement of a wetlands permit in Phase II of the Lakes Business Park, the town will be seeking a grant to create some walking trails in the Gilford portion of the park.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the grant, if approved, comes from the federal government and is administered by the state Department of Economics and Development under their trails bureau.

Dunn said the matching money will come from the Lakes Business Park Trust Fund to which Gilford contributes up to $54,000 a year from revenues it gets from the sold units.

According to city of Laconia website, Phase I of the Lakes Business Park was created in the mid 1990s by the City of Laconia, which consisted of five lots, four of which are currently occupied.

The city of Laconia joined the town of Gilford to develop Phase II of the park in 2002, which consists of 113 acres of land developed into 19 lots and is entirely in Gilford.

Sales of the lots in Gilford, said Dunn, generate taxes a portion of which goes back into the development of future lots. He said the Lakes Business Park Trust Fund has about $400,000 and would be used for any matching portion of the grant.

Dunn said part of the Phase II intermunicipal agreement with Laconia consisted of creating nature-friendly hiking trails for use by the general public and the employees of the business who are in the park.

Once completed, said Dunn, he said the trails would be accessed via Hounsell Avenue.

Dispute between Mayhew and neighbor moved to Carroll County Superior Court

LACONIA — The suit filed by Peter Mayhew, the owner of the Mayhew Funeral Home, Inc. in Meredith, seeking to silence his neighbor Douglas Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, will be heard in Carroll County Superior Court after Justice James D. O'Neill III of Belknap County Superior Court recused himself.

Mayhew brought suit after Frederick repeatedly told state and local officials, in statements widely reported in the print and electronic media, that emissions from the crematorium at the funeral home carried ashes and odors on to his property. Insisting that Fredrick's claims are without merit, damage his business and impugn his character, Mayhew has asked the court to forbid him from speaking further about the funeral home or its owner.

O'Neill recused himself from the proceedings after conferring with attorneys Marc van Zanten, representing Mayhew, and William Woodbury, representing Frederick, at a scheduled hearing in Belknap County Superior Court last week.

– Michael Kitch

Bank of NH donates $500,000 to Colonial Theatre project

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — In its 185th year, the Bank of New Hampshire jump started the capital campaign to restore and reopen the Colonial Theatre, another of the city's most venerable and cherished institutions.

Calling the theater "an iconic part of our community," Mark Primeau, president and chief executive officer of the bank presented a check for $500,000 Wednesday toward the capital campaign, with the goal of raising $2 million before the year is out.

"I challenge the business community to step up," he said. "It's a wise investment."

Randy Eifert, chairman of the Belknap Economic Development Council, recalled that almost a year to the day ago the council and the city announced they had partnered to acquire and restore the theater. Since then, he said, the time, energy and talent of many individuals have brought the project to the brink of beginning the restoration of the building in January.

In particular, Eifert expressed thanks to Kevin Sullivan of Weeks Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the purchase without accepting a fee, John Giere of Wescott Law, who managed the legal spadework, Chris Kelly of Re/Max Bayside, who is managing the property and Bonnette, Page & Stone Corporation for preparing the theater for restoration.

Introducing Primeau, Rod Dyer of the Cultural Arts Center of the Lakes Region, said that the Bank of New Hampshire "has always stepped forward," noting its generous contributions to the Robbie Mills Sports Complex, Boy & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, Laconia High School, Laconia Public Library and LRGHealthcare.

"This is a significant day," Dyer remarked. "Onward and upward!"

He said the project is projected to have an immediate economic impact of $10,555,000 and increased spending of $2.2 million and spawn 70 new jobs, 47 of them in the construction industry paying $73,600 a year.

Mayor Ed Engler said that the generosity of the bank came as no surprise. He stressed that the bank is "its people and the role they have played in the life of our community," singling out the late John Goddard and Don Beane, both longtime directors of the bank, who he called "our neighbors, our friends."

The purchase, restoration and reopening of the theater," Engler said, "has touched a nerve in the city of Laconia and the Lakes Region. We still have a lot to do," he continued. "All signs are looking good. No red flags raised so far. But, we need every contribution imaginable from the community." He said that a public fundraising campaign will begin shortly after Labor Day.

06-02 Colonial donation

Mark Primeau, president and chief executive officer of Bank of New Hampshire, right, and Barry Leonard, his executive vice president, set the pace for the capital campaign to raise $2 million for the restoration of the Colonial Theatre with a $500,000 contribution made under the marquee Wednesday. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

Colonial 4May16242126 DS

There is now a great view from the upper right balcony box overlooking the main floor and stage area as the final pieces of steel joists were removed from the Colonial Theater last month. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)