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Until there are more reasons to be downtown, money will be wasted

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
Late 60s early 70s, the rebirth of downtown Laconia — Urban Renewal — a "Free" Money Government Project. Late 80s, City Council has the Rebirth of Downtown II. Remove at least four buildings for a parking lot; this will be downtown "Revitalization II.a". Then came revitalization IV in '92-'93: the removal of concrete for the new (again) Main Street ($400,000) between Sawyer's and THE parking garage. This will solve the problem of folks not being able to find downtown Laconia. Keep in mind in the early 70s, Dan's Star Market and WT Grant built a shopping plaza where Loew's is today, over the Gilford line. Oh yes, the '92-'93 council decided to build the Lakes Business Park in partnership with Gilford. And how has that worked re: new jobs and property values? Allen Rogers left us, and Freudenberg came in, and LEFT. In the meantime, in my opinion, we gave up on O'Shea Industrial Park for new occupants.
After all of the boondoggles costing us millions with little or no return, we are going to do it again! Didn't we already remove a large section of the parking garage facade so visitors could find a parking space? No sweat, just a few hundred thousand dollars. Are the taxpayers expected to finance another hopeless act by changing the first look at downtown through rose-colored glasses? Oh heck, in the beginning, it's only another $450,000.
Laconia is my hometown and I plan on staying, though my children left for a better financial life, and it worked. My fear is that once again unknowing visitors to downtown will not be encouraged by another Potemkin's Village, and the natives know until more shops and reasons to be in downtown Laconia, more of OUR money will be wasted.

Niel Young