January 3, 2011


Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Members of the Moving Derry Forward committee will bring their final economic development recommendations to the town council Tuesday.
With a council charge to outline improvements for the Route 28 TIF District and Derry’s downtown, about 50 local business owners, town and
 school officials and community activists met three times in three months to come up with a plan.
Stu Arnett, of Arnett Development Group in Concord, helped to facilitate the Moving Derry Forward committee meetings. Arnett’s firm was hired by the town last October to help foster economic development.
And Arnett said that Derry’s
 community participation over the past few months set the town apart from other similar projects.
“A lot of times you start groups like this and three or four people drop off each meeting and by the end, it’s half of what you started with,” Arnett said Thursday. “But we kept adding people, and there was a great interest and a lot of people
 with good ideas who appreciated that the council was listening to them.”
Councilor Joel Olbricht is the committee’s chairman.
By the group’s third meeting in November, Arnett said members had come up with more than 60 improvement ideas.
On Tuesday, members will present a narrowed list of final recommendations. Arnett said
 that Moving Derry Forward participants will be encouraged to share their thoughts with council at the meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m.
“We want to give people a chance to say either we got it right or we didn’t,” Arnett said. “We just want to keep them involved.”
 To improve the Route 28 TIF District, the committee recommends an increased coordination among landowners and commercial brokers to market the area and plan infrastructure improvements. 

Other goals for the TIF District are to add a traffic light at A Street, design a new B Street to Ashleigh Drive and to rename the industrial park, according to the final report, In the downtown, the committee recommends that council begin to set aside money in a downtown development fund, to improve signage and lighting and to prepare for new parking. 
The committee proposes a Railroad Crossing Redevelopment Area TIF District, which would fund the development of the Abbot Court parking lot, design the infrastructure needed for any new buildings downtown and acquire “key” properties as needed, according to the report. 
The commercial building at 6 West Broadway is described as an anchor building for the Railroad Crossing district. 
Other goals include adopting tax-incentive programs for building owners, fixing blighted buildings and coordinating downtown efforts with those of other projects such as the proposed Londonderry Village Center. 
Much recent attention has been placed on fostering Derry’s economic development with the entrance of Derry’s new town administrator, John Anderson. 
Many of Anderson’s firstyear goals finalized last month coincide with the recommendations of the Moving Derry Forward committee, including that TIF District road improvements be completed by October. Anderson has also been asked to propose an economic development team by February and to define the town’s next major economic project after the Route 28 TIF District improvements are complete. 
At its November meeting, many members of the Moving Derry Forward committee spoke in favor of keeping the group going, though its original council charge is complete. Arnett said that final decisions about what a joint committee would look like have yet to be made. 
But judging by numbers this fall, Arnett said he’s optimistic there will be strong momentum continuing in the coming months. 
“We had great participants and it speaks well for going forward and speaks well to a successful implementation,” he said. “It’s very encouraging.” 

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