PSU forms Center for Business and Community Partnerships


PLYMOUTH — Helping businesses and non-profit organizations achieve success while giving students real-world experience is the goal of Plymouth State University's newly created Center for Business and Community Partnerships. The newly created endeavor, formerly known as the Center for Rural Partnerships, focuses PSU's research, outreach and educational capacities on advancing collaborative, reciprocal projects that support regional industry while contributing to student engagement and faculty development.

"We're connecting important campus projects and initiatives with the needs of industry and the community," said partnership Director Ben Amsden. "Faculty research, student capacity and service learning are resources we have the ability to share. By creating partnerships with for- and non-profit businesses, we can help grow the economy, support the academic and personal growth of our students and contribute to the sustainability of Plymouth State."

The partnership will focus specifically on the relationship between higher education and industry, and the ability to create mutually beneficial exchanges of knowledge and resources. Faculty and students will be regarded by industry as partners, ready to help generate ideas and solve problems.

"The new Center for Business and Community Partnerships builds upon the legacy of the Center for Rural Partnerships and the Institute for New Hampshire Studies," said Thad Guldbrandsen, vice provost for research and engagement.

The re-visioning of the Center was proposed by PSU President Donald Birx and comes at a time when the University is undergoing its own transformation. To meet the evolving needs of 21st century learners, the University has begun the process of reorganizing around seven strategic clusters that will work across traditional, disciplinary boundaries. The clusters will be functional areas in which faculty and students will collaborate with industry on issues of scientific, intellectual, social, economic, environmental and cultural importance. Birx's goal is for the CBCP to play a leading role in these collaborations, making the work of Plymouth State more visible, accessible and valuable to the region.

"There's a real need for universities to intersect with their surrounding communities, both in non-profits and industry," Birx noted. "The synergy is incredibly powerful and the opportunities created are transformative — for ourselves, our students, and our community. Using the CBCP to engage with businesses will create a more vibrant regional economy."

The endeavor will initially create partnerships focused on sponsored research, information transfer and field-based education. Faculty, working closely with industry partners, will have opportunities to bring their research and innovation to market. Students, through service learning and internships, will develop skills and make relationships that will be of value to their careers.

"We believe strongly in the power of engaged scholarship," said Amsden. "Students, faculty and businesses—everyone will benefit when we work together."

"PSU remains committed to the well-being of northern New Hampshire and rural communities across the state," added Guldbrandsen. "Non-profit organizations and government agencies will continue to be important partners for us. The center's new direction reflects a greater emphasis on developing private sector partnerships."

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Manufactured-home park in Belmont purchased by residents

BELMONT — Homeowners in Ladd Hill Mobile Home Park closed last week on the purchase of their 32-unit park, making it New Hampshire's 118th resident-owned manufactured-home community.

Using training and technical assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund's ROC-NH program, residents organized and formed Ladd Hill Cooperative Inc. last November in order to convert their privately owned manufactured-home park into a resident-owned community.

The cooperative then negotiated with the park's owner, Ladd Hill Realty Trust, and reached a purchase price of $525,000 before finalizing the deal March 1 with a mortgage from the Community Loan Fund.

Last fall, after receiving notice that Ladd Hill was being sold, residents Everett and Pat Palmer were worried. If the sale went through, and the new owner wanted to use the land for some other purpose, they could lose their home. They immediately called the Community Loan Fund for help.

"The next thing I know, ROC-NH is on their way to meet us," said Pat Palmer. "That was very comforting."

"It's a relief to know we own (the community), and that our investment and all that we've worked for is protected" said Pat's husband, Everett. "This whole process has brought our park together. We've become closer to our neighbors and met the ones we didn't know."

"The New Hampshire Community Loan does so much more than lend money–they really do help build communities and we couldn't be happier," he said.

For 32 years, the Community Loan Fund has worked in towns and cities across New Hampshire to connect people and families with the loans, training and advice that allow them to have affordable homes, secure jobs and quality child care, and become economically stable.

Now that Ladd Hill is New Hampshire's 118th resident-owned community, homeowners there are eligible for products and services, like real mortgages, that haven't been available to them.

Residents of parks that are not cooperatively owned usually own the home they live in, but not the land beneath it. Because of that, they miss out on most of the usual benefits of home ownership, including conventional mortgage terms, the appreciation of their home's value and the availability of equity loans.

Before and after they purchase their communities, resident-owned communities receive training and technical assistance from ROC-NH, including community-management "boot camps," a leadership program, a biennial conference and a management guide.

The Community Loan Fund helped homeowners convert New Hampshire's first co-op park in Meredith in 1984. The state's 118 resident-owned communities contain more than 6,500 affordable manufactured homes. Its conversion work is being applied nationally by a spinoff organization, ROC USA.

A full list of resident-owned cooperatives in New Hampshire is available at

For more information on the Community Loan Fund, go online to or call Director of Communications and Marketing Steve Varnum at (603) 224-6669, ext. 277.

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Federal Reserve economist to speak at PSU


PLYMOUTH — A senior economist and policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will be addressing students at Plymouth State University on Wednesday, March 23.

Dr. Daniel Cooper will speak to students in the College of Business Administration about monetary policy and the role of the Federal Reserve in the nation's economy.

The talk is open to the public. It will take place at Heritage Commons from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m.

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Pike wins award for asphalt paving quality


BELMONT — Pike Industries Inc. has won a 2015 Quality in Construction Award for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement. The company received its award recently in a ceremony during the National Asphalt Pavement Association's Annual Meeting.

Pike Industries Inc., an Oldcastle Materials Co. won the award for the overlay of I-89 from New London to Grantham. The company rehabilitated a 7.3-mile section of the road with a specially designed rubberized asphalt overlay. The mix included a cement made from recycled automobile tires stripped of all metals and debris, and ground into a crumb rubber product. Using recycled rubber limits the amount of virgin products needed to produce the asphalt mix. The design mix also included a warm-mix additive that is better able to handle New England's freeze-thaw weather patterns.


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Belknap Point Motel property sold


GILFORD — The Belknap Point Motel on Lake Winnipesaukee was recently sold agents Travis Cole and Franco DiRienzo, according to the RE/MAX Bayside real estate agency.

The sellers, Harry and Elaine Blinn, owned and ran the property for more than 20 years. The buyers plan to update each unit over the winter and reopen for business in April, RE/MAX Bayside said in a media release. The Blinns have moved to Concord.

The property includes 16 motel units, owners accommodations, about 200 feet of sandy shorefront, a boat house, dock and panoramic open water views across The Broads on Lake Winnipesaukee.

RE/MAX Bayside has offices in downtown Laconia and on Route 3 in Meredith.


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