Hippo Manchester
October 27, 2005

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Publisher's Note: Positive QOLs: food, trains
by Jody Reese

Several Manchester restaurants turned out for Taste of the Towns, a benefit held on Friday, Oct. 21.

Hundreds of people from all over Southern New Hampshire gathered to sample wines and dishes from dozens of area vendors. A great fundraiser (in this case for the Nashua Center for the Multiply Handicapped), this event also helps to highlight how important food is to the development of a city.

In Manchester, not only do we have great restaurants but we have great restaurants that go the extra mile and participate in events like the Taste or their own special events. For example, on Thursday, Oct. 27, Cotton will offer a special menu of pumpkin dishes with proceeds going to help Kids Cafe. This night gives both the chef and diners a chance to enjoy new dishes and helps to make Manchester a vital food city.

Creative economy types and the businesses that need them look for cultural infrastructure as well as easy access to airports and low taxes. Thereís a reason most research and development takes places in the San Fransico area and not in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

While itís unlikely that Manchester will ever become like Silicon Valley, it is reasonable that Manchester and Southern New Hampshire can become a hub for research and development type businesses. We have good schools, low taxes, easy access to airports and beautiful scenery. Of course, we also have a wonderful array of cultural infrastructure, including a great number of superb restaurants.

Superb restaurants, like a thriving arts community or a strong local sports team, can help get people excited about a city. The stateís economic development office and officials in Manchester should include our foodie resources when they develop marketing packages.

*  *  *

In other quality of life, news, earlier this week, a passenger train loaded with V.I.P.s and politicians made its way to Manchester to spark interest in reviving rail service to Boston.

It didnít get much press, but still served as a reminder of the potential of passenger service. Itís not so a few people can commute to work. Itís a long-term infrastructure investment so that Manchester remains an attractive place for creative economy types to flourish.

Access to Boston, a world-class center of business and culture, through reliable passenger service would be a huge selling point for the Queen City in future decades. And it would be a boon, not just for Boston residents looking north, but for those of us that already call Manchester our home.