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Manchester Connects Presents Manchester Revitalization Plans
 
Published Monday, November 6, 2017
by GLENNISHA MORGAN

Manchester Connects, an organization with a collaborative planning effort envisioning a more accessible Millyard, downtown, and a more visible Riverfront in Manchester, hosted a town hall at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) recently to present their plans to reinvigorate Manchester.

During the town hall discussion, the volunteer organization highlighted parking availability, alternative transportation options, and building an accessible Riverwalk as key factors to focus on regarding revitalizing downtown Manchester and the Millyard.

“Parking is driving all of the decision making in the Millyward. As a city, your decision making should never be driven by parking,” says Susan Silberberg, MC volunteer and founder of CivicMoxie. “Your decision making should be driven by what you make it. What makes you want to come downtown? What makes you want to live here? What gives you your pride? The parking question has to be solved.”

The local group offered a five-part strategy for supporting the nucleus of the Granite State’s largest city. The strategy includes celebrating public space, placemaking, and innovation, hosting a world-class Riverwalk and iconic pedestrian bridge, embracing the “complete streets” philosophy of city design, which means they are designed to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. In addition, the revitalization plan wants to encourage a mix of land uses and support innovative parking strategies.

Input from the community during local meetings, over the past year or so is what sparked a plan to be innovated.

“To see so many stakeholders come together and talk about the future, vision, and what they want to see in the community, I think has really helped our community pride,” says Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and MC member.

“I’ve probably had about two dozen conversations with businesses looking to relocate or expand to Manchester, over the last three or four months. One of the common themes I hear in every one of those conversations is, ‘what is going on in the Millyward?' That’s where the action and excitement is.”

Some town hall discussion attendees inquired about plans for the rest of Manchester, besides downtown and the Millyard.

Skelton emphasized that if downtown Manchester flourishes, so will the rest of the Queen City. “If downtown thrives, the entire city thrives,” says Skelton.

He also suggested that the community can unite and create plans, like Manchester Connects.

“This is where the partnership with the city and community is important,” Skelton says.


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