January 4, 2007

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Nashua Publisher's Note: Five things revisited
By Jeff Rapsis

A year ago, I wrote a publisher’s note headlined “Five Things for ‘06,” a list of five things that would make Nashua a better place if they did (or in some cases, did not) happen in 2006.

OK, a year has passed. Anything to report?

• No more recall elections. Last year’s comment: “The ability of Nashua residents to request a recall election has morphed into a tool for political harassment.” This year’s update: This seems to have become a non-issue. And guess what? Right on schedule, we’re due for a municipal election this November, so all those Bernie Streeter-haters, here’s your chance. (He’s not running again, giving critics a clear shot at the job.)

• A permanent farmers’ market. Last year’s comment: “In the right location, it could help link downtown with the millyard. It would not only appeal to residents, but also give visitors a reason to pull off the highway.” This year’s update: Hey, we got one! It wasn’t a permanent market (a long-term goal), but the Main Street bridge affair that blossomed on Sundays this past summer is a great start.

• Efforts to market the city as a home décor center. Last year’s comment: “Just as Gardner, Mass., was once the furniture capital of New England, the Gate City could establish itself as the region’s home design center.” This year’s update: Haven’t noticed much action on this front, which remains to my mind an avenue that offers great potential for the city’s downtown.

• Progress on passenger rail. Last year’s comment: “Restoring rail service from Nashua to Boston is the single most important thing that can be done to secure the Gate City’s long-term economic development future.” This year’s update: Huh? Is anything ever going to happen on this? My own view hasn’t changed: Nashua in the 21st century will prosper to the extent we are connected to Boston. A reliable passenger rail link will allow the city to share in Boston’s global economic status.

• Nashua residents rediscover the river. Last year’s comment: “Let’s hope it all helps Nashua residents rediscover the value of their community’s namesake river, which has the potential to add greatly to our quality of life.” This year’s observation: This past year saw a plan by John Stabile to build condos on unused industrial land upstream from the Main Street bridge. Also, the Jackson Falls condos have taken shape near Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s been a great year for the river!

And 2007? All the above remain important, but if I had to add one more thing (to make it six things for ’07), it would be promoting the city’s local arts and entertainment scene as a way to build community.

Fortunately, the folks at City Arts Nashua are already making progress on this front, too. Looks like 2007 has some potential.