Belknap Mill to reconfigure first floor, expand gallery


LACONIA — The first floor of the Belknap Mill will soon be undergoing changes to make it more inviting to visitors, with more open display space as well as expanded gallery offerings.

The changes are the result of a comprehensive space assessment undertaken by the mill’s board of directors and staff members in order to re-emphasize the commitment to history, art and education.

The current gift shop will be downsized to a mobile unit that can be easily moved to accommodate the events taking place at the mill, while allowing more gallery space for current and new displays.

The mill will continue to offer its Power House Museum space displaying the turbines and control panels used when the mill was operating. The Hosiery Museum has examples of the machinery used to make socks and other textiles from its inception in 1823.

Slated for demolition as part of Laconia’s Urban Renewal in the 1960s, a successful Save the Mill effort gave the Belknap Mill new life as a museum and educational tool.

Among its many offerings is a popular fourth-grade program, “My First Day of Work at the Mill,” which has students from area schools making field trips to learn what it was like to work in the mill during its heyday, with an interdisciplinary focus on geography, government, mathematics, science, social studies and economics.

The mill also participates in community events such as the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, with a Great Pumpkin Cook-Off scheduled outside in Rotary Park from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 14. A Riverside Duck Derby will take place at 4:30 p.m.

The space renovations will be commencing within the next six months, according to Operations Manager Tara Shore.


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Hearing on Mayhew crematorium proposal delayed to Sept. 25

MEREDITH — Peter and Kelley Mayhew, whose request for a variance to build a new crematorium was to be heard on Sept. 14, obtained a continuance after learning that the full membership of the Meredith Zoning Board of Adjustment would not be able attend the session on Thursday.
The ZBA agreed to postpone the hearing to Monday, Sept. 25, at 5:30 p.m.
Several people who came specifically to hear the proposal left the meeting before the Zoning Board moved on to another request.
The application for the variance seeks permission for Mayhew Funeral Home to build a new crematorium on Commerce Court that would accommodate both human and pet cremations.
Mayhew, with locations in Plymouth and Meredith, currently operates a crematorium at its Route 3 location in Meredith.
The funeral home has been in mediation with a neighbor who complained that the crematorium produced unpleasant odors and ash, a charge the Mayhews have denied.
Peter Mayhew said the new facility would allow the funeral home to expand into to an unserved area — pet cremations — which cannot be done in the same chamber used for human remains.
The neighbors, Douglas and Leslyee Frederick, who operate the American Police Motorcycle Museum, sought a special exception for their property to allow for boat storage after Meredith Marine expressed an interest purchasing the property. The ZBA denied their application and also denied their appeal of the decision.

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DOT to replace new guardrails obstructing view on Route 106

BELMONT — The state Department of Transportation will be removing “a substantial portion” of the new guardrail installed as part of road improvements on Route 106, after residents of the area complained that they obscure their view of oncoming traffic at the Seavey Road intersection.
Chuck Flanders of the DOT’s Construction Bureau said the department has re-evaluated the new design and expects to remove the guardrail to improve the southern view as early as next week.
“It was built to the project plan,” Flanders said, “but, for whatever reason, in reality, things didn’t just quite work out.”
Eric Grennell, who lives off Seavey Road, said he has vehicles that sit low to the ground, and he found it is impossible to see over the guardrails to know if there is traffic coming along Route 106 when he approaches the intersection, without pulling into the path of oncoming vehicles.
“This intersection is now more dangerous than it has ever been,” Grennell said, “especially considering that Belmont High School is on Seavey Road, and many of the students leaving the school have low cars and travel through this intersection.”
Flanders said the DOT will modify the design of the guardrails, as well as the slopes the guardrails were intended to protect.

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Guardrails newly installed on Route 106 and Seavey Road in Belmont will be removed due to visibility issues. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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