By Jody Reese
Since the mid-1800s, a mile-long stretch of mills — once the home of the world’s largest textile manufacturing operation — has dominated the city’s landscape.
Those mills don’t make cloth anymore, but those that remain now house everything from classrooms to law firms to companies doing high-tech research.
The mills help to define the Queen City’s character. They set Manchester apart from many other mid-sized American cities.
While the mills help set us apart, it’s important to note that three high-profile projects in Manchester are nearing completion, and will likely become city landmarks on their own.
This week’s topping-off ceremony at the new baseball stadium is a reminder that opening day is now less than four months away. With the structural steel all in place, the rest of the stadium will quickly take shape, giving us a highly visible new home for its own baseball team.
Downtown, the new retail/residential complex at the corner of Bridge and Elm continues to take shape. When complete, it will greatly improve local options for the growing number of people who’d rather live in the city rather than own a house in the suburbs.
And, at Manchester Airport, a 165-foot-tall control tower is taking shape. When it opens next year, it’ll be yet another sign that the Queen City is the air-transportation gateway for all of New Hampshire.
These things are important because, if Manchester is going to prosper in the 21st-century economy, it needs to be the sort of place that attracts the best and brightest minds in the new knowledge economy.
By “knowledge economy,” I mean the kind of businesses that will likely lead U.S. economic growth in the next decades. Software, financial services, Internet development, medical research — these areas are attracting some of the best and brightest young talent.
The next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs can choose where they want to settle, and Manchester is fortunate because it possesses attributes that are proving popular — low overall taxes, a lively arts scene, an authentic downtown, real neighborhoods, recreational opportunities and good transportation.
All three of these projects are landmarks in helping shape Manchester into that kind of a city. And that makes 2005 a year to anticipate.
2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH