March 15, 2007

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Nashua Publisher's Note: The envelope, pleaseBy Jeff Rapsis

This week’s Hippo has the results of our annual Best Of Everything survey. Like Hippo, it encompasses not just Nashua, but the whole region.

Why? Because after an extensive survey, we’ve found that most people have these machines called cars. You get in them and drive places. And we’ve found that people who are interested in life (which is what we cover) are willing to drive a bit to sample the best.

So what’s the best breakfast in Nashua or Manchester or Concord? Once again, our readers have weighed in, and this week we bring you how they voted in that and several dozen other categories.

One part of the survey I’m pleased with is that we excluded chain restaurants — not because they aren’t good (some of them are), but because they’re the same wherever you go.

As it says in this week’s story, our Best Of Everything survey is intended to focus on what makes life in southern New Hampshire special and unique, and the fries at McDonalds don’t qualify.

It really is the readers who decided, by the way — it has nothing to do with who advertises in Hippo or who doesn’t. We published the ballot in early February, and then gave people several weeks to cast ballots online.

Thanks to all who responded. You’ve helped us bring attention to places, people, and things that the rest of us may not have known about.

Moving on up
Nashua is about to lose an important contributor to the city’s economic health and well-being. Jay Minkarah, the city’s economic development coordinator, has been nominated for the same job in Manchester.

It’s likely he’ll be approved, and with that, Jay will move on to a bigger stage, guiding economic development efforts in the state’s largest city.

And I have to say, it’s Nashua’s loss. In the past few years, I’ve dealt with Jay on many varied projects, and he’s one of those rare people who gets it.

Jay has a good feeling for what needs to be done now to make Nashua attractive to the coming generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. He knows what it takes to create the kind of community that’s going to be a player in tomorrow’s economy.

The good news is that more economic development folks realize that it’s not just about power lines or a water supplies. Those elements remain crucial, but they’re not enough. Increasingly, a community must be competitive in quality of life issues—a vibrant arts scene, a unique identity (something besides chain stores in strip malls), and good access to a truly world-class city, which in our case happens to be Boston.

Thankfully, these concepts aren’t new ideas anymore, even among many old-timers. Nashua has momentum in all these directions, so let’s hope the city is able to land a new director to continue Jay’s solid work on these and other fronts.