To The Daily Sun,

I strongly support the sale of the Taylor House and associated acreage for a new outdoor outfitter business. The proposed business is a perfect fit for the many planning projects underway intended to improve Moultonborough Village.

I was on the Charrette Committee in 2018, and on the First Impressions team in 2019. Both planning studies focused on strategies to revitalize Moultonborough Village, and how to attract new businesses and bring vitality to our historic downtown. The First Impressions report called Moultonborough Village’s small town atmosphere “a gift” and urged us to “sell what you have,” to value and leverage our existing natural and historical assets in order to attract investment and new businesses.

I am now a member of the Community Development Advisory Committee, working with other volunteers on a business survey to determine how we can better support and retain businesses. There is critical need to attract and put out the welcome mat to those willing to take the risk to be part of our community. Businesses in Moultonborough are struggling, and the pandemic is exacerbating the losses. Look how many "for sale" signs are up on Route 25.

Traditional villages with historic buildings along New Hampshire’s roadways define our state’s rural character, attracting new residents and visitors interested in heritage tourism who also enjoy the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities in our communities. Planners and economic development experts point out that traditional main streets on state highways have been dying a slow death in recent decades, with the increase in auto-oriented businesses and the steady growth of sprawl-type development. Moultonborough is no exception.

Towns like Bristol and Littleton are bucking this trend by supporting their local businesses, welcoming new ones, and trying creative approaches to downtown revitalization. Both have seen success with investment in trail networks that connect downtown businesses to natural resources and recreational opportunities. Since the 2018 Charrette, we’ve focused on connectivity in our Village, working to build new trails around Berry Pond and to link existing trails on both sides of Route 25. This trail network could spark interest and bring more visitors and investment to our Village.

Sadly, we are facing our own local attack on Moultonborough Village as some push for demolition of historic buildings and attempt to destroy the heart of our community. Landmark buildings, like The Old Country Store, welcome visitors to our downtown business district and are the essence of Moultonborough’s identity. Both the Charrette and the First Impressions reports identified vacant buildings like the Taylor House and the Grange as community assets, opportunities for reinvestment and redevelopment that would attract visitors and bring customers to our existing local businesses.

We have an investor who wants to rehabilitate a historic building at the center of our Village for a year round, outdoor-oriented business and partner with our community to promote wellness and recreation. We need to build relationships, partnerships, and support our Moultonborough businesses. Denying this project would forever send the chilling message that Moultonborough is NOT business friendly.

Diane MacArthur

Moultonborough

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