Parking outside of Laconia Spa changes to just 15 minutes

07 13 Peter Karagianis at Happy Jacks

Peter Karagianis, owner of Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop in his business. Time restrictions on parking spots in front on his business are being changed. (Rick Green, Laconia Daily Sun)

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — It should be a little easier to find a parking spot in front of the Laconia Spa neighborhood store and the Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop in the coming days.

The City Council on Monday approved a change that will set a 15-minute limit for a few spots on the street in front of the two businesses, instead of the current one-hour restriction now in place.

Peter Karagianis, who owns the tobacco shop and the space out of which the store operates, said a successful restaurant across the street, Karma Cafe, has been good for this part of the city, but has put a little extra pressure on his parking.

“We just need to have spots people can move in and out of,” he said.

The clientele of Happy Jack and the Laconia Spa like to be able to park right in front of the businesses and are not there long.

Karagianis would like the time limit marked in paint on the spots, but has also told the city it can place signs on the building notifying people of the parking restrictions. Signs posts placed near the street could interfere with snow plow operations, he said.

His late father, also Peter Karagianis, began operating the Laconia Spa in its present building at 65 Church St. in 1957. The elder Karagianis, who served as a state representative, moved the business from another location.

At one time, the Laconia Spa had a soda fountain. People once called such businesses spas for the refreshing drinks they served.

The building itself dates to the early 1900s, when its rooms provided overnight lodging to railroad passengers.

The building also was once an automobile dealership and repair operation known as the Esty Garage.

Laconia Spa

The Laconia Spa and Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop have parking spots that are being changed from one hour to 15 minutes. (Rick Green/ Laconia Daily Sun)

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Gilford to pursue parking restrictions on Route 11B near Bank of NH Pavilion

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — Concerns about roadside parking in front of Yacht Club Vista condominiums and adjacent properties have prompted members of the Gilford Board of Selectmen to ask that signs be posted on both sides of Route 11B between the condominium association and 121 and 123 Weirs Road.

Mark Lariviere, president of the Yacht Club Vista Condo Association, brought his concerns to the selectmen Wednesday night, saying it is only a matter of time until someone is killed because those crossing the street are unable to see traffic past the parked vehicles.

“This time of year, it’s very dangerous,” he said. “There are a lot of accidents and near misses.”

The problem, he said, has been exacerbated by nearby Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion’s decision in 2013 to charge for parking during concerts. Describing it as “a zoo,” Lariviere said people are looking for anywhere to park to avoid having to pay, and they’re leaving their vehicles alongside the road, going through the woods, and throwing trash on the ground.

“Every time something happens at Meadowbrook (the former name of the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion), there’s a secondary problem here, and it’s a serious safety issue for the neighbors,” Lariviere said.

Lariviere said he had approached Bill Rollins of the state Highway Department about putting up no-parking signs, but Rollins told him the Department of Transportation first has to receive a request from the town.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn confirmed that, although 11B is a state highway, the town would have to submit a petition to have signs erected.

When Selectman Gus Benavides suggested posting signs in front of Yacht Club Vista and the other two properties where the owners had supported no-parking signs, Selectman Richard Grenier suggested extending the no-parking zone all the way from Misty Harbor to Dockham Shore Road.

“I think it’s an important safety issue,” he said.

Benavides said that while he supports that idea, he would not want to take action on something affecting other people without having them involved in the discussion, and that the selectmen could address the larger issue later.

Dunn said, “We can do one and then another, but it seems piecemeal; but whatever you want.”

Benavides subsequently made the motion to include just the condo association and 121 and 123 Weirs Road, and the motion passed unanimously.

Lt. Kristian Kelley, who had been asked about the ability to make people move their vehicles from the side of the road without no-parking signs in place, said he could look into the use of emergency no-parking signs during concerts.

yacht club vista map

Residents of Yacht Club Vista condominiums are finding their street crowded with cars when the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion has an event. (Courtesy Google Maps)

 

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Tennis court to-do list done

07 13 Leavitt Park reopening

City Councilor Armand Bolduc, Kermit and Nancy Merrill of the Leavitt Park Association, Mayor Ed Engler, Laconia Parks & Recreation Director Kevin Dunleavy, Parks & Recreation Commission member Mitch Hamel, Bob Ronstadt of the Lakes Region Tennis Association and Tony Felch of the Leavitt Park Association marked the official opening of the new courts at Leavitt Park in Laconia yesteday.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Leavitt Park courts reopen with fresh facilities

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The city has a committee that carefully ranks proposed capital improvement projects and City Manager Scott Myers makes recommendations on which of those project should get funding.

But most years, City Council members find a way to fund things that don't rise to the top of his list. These are items that may not be overly expensive but are viewed as important in creating an attractive community.

Such was the case with the $78,000 reconstruction of the Leavitt Park tennis courts, which reopened Wednesday with a fresh asphalt surface and new fences, nets and paint. For years, the fence was rusted, the court surface uneven and cracked.

Councilor Armand Bolduc, who was at the courts Wednesday along with other city officials, said the project has been needed for some time.

“I'm glad we finally got it done,” he said. “I fought for it.”

A new tennis court may not seem like a big deal, but things like this are important for Laconia, he said.

“It's good for people to exercise, particularly older people, but younger people, too,” he said.

Leslie Lovely, of the Lakes Region Tennis Association, was one of the first people to try out the court. On the other side of the net was her son, Andrew Sykes, 20. He said he was rusty but he quickly warmed up in the 80-degree heat and gave his mother a good game under sunny skies.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department has requested the tennis court work since at least 2013, although it has never won a recommendation from the city manager.

In 2013, the tennis court refurbishment was ranked No. 37 on the Capital Improvement Program Committee's list of projects. It moved up four slots on the list the next year. In 2015, it was No. 26. Last year, it was No. 17, and the City Council voted to pay for it out of a reserve fund.

Parks and Recreation priorities are often among those that don't make the cut for recommended projects but get funding through what is essentially a City Council earmark.

This year, that was the case for a $40,000 expenditure to study erosion at city beaches, $35,000 for a new fence at Opechee Park, $25,000 for park basketball court improvements and $20,000 for a paved pathway through Opechee Park, connecting the middle school campus with North Main Street.

Last year, in addition to the tennis court work, the City Council funded Memorial Park softball field bleachers at a cost of $15,000 and playground revitalization work costing $15,000, both of which were requested by the Parks and Recreation Department but were not among the projects recommended by the city manager.

Councilor Henry Lipman, who is on the Capital Improvement Program Committee, said people appreciate projects that improve the city's quality of life.

“Sometimes you want to do something to make things right,” he said. “The citizenry values certain projects or repairs.

“The council is interested in having a strategic planning process and having amenities in the community as a way of making the city more attractive. Our parks and trails and beaches are amenities that are valued.”

Kevin Dunleavy, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, values this attitude.

“I don't have any expectations, but these projects are certainly things that need to be done,” he said. “I always appreciate when they can make it work.”

 07 13 Leavitt Park tennis court

Leslie Lovely returns a shot to her son, Andrew Sykes, on the newly refinished tennis court at Leavitt Park.  (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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