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Paul Feely's City Hall: New camera to focus on Millyard construction project

By PAUL FEELY
April 21. 2018 8:18PM

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Smile, you're on construction camera.

Peter Flotz of the Florida-based Lansing Melbourne Group went before the Aldermanic Committee on Lands and Buildings last week seeking permission to temporarily mount a solar powered, wireless webcam on the pedestrian bridge over the Merrimack River to monitor construction of the six-story, 1,700 spot garage his firm is putting up on South Commercial Street.

Southern New Hampshire University plans to lease the roughly $50 million garage, the first major building to go up in the Millyard in more than a century.

The garage will be built between the mill building and Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, where the New Hampshire Fisher Cats play. Flotz hopes to open the garage by October 2019.

"We want to be able to create a record of the construction," said Flotz. "The camera takes a picture every eight minutes, for the next year and a half."

"It's really there so you can watch it while you're in Florida sipping margaritas, right?" joked Alderman At-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur.

"I have a monitor on the boat as well," said Flotz.

Flotz said the images could eventually be compiled into a video and donated to the city archives.

"Twenty-five or 30 years from now that video would be very historic," said Levasseur.

Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw said she has watched similar videos.

"I enjoyed watching the Empire State Building being built," said Shaw. "It's a great idea."

Committee members unanimously approved Flotz's request, which now heads to the full board for approval May 1.

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Mayor Joyce Craig has nominated Charleen Michaud as the city's new welfare director, the first person to be nominated for the job since residents voted in 2015 to have the formerly-elected welfare commissioner position become a department head instead, with candidates appointed by the mayor.

Former welfare commissioner Paul Martineau was elected to eight terms, collecting a salary in excess of $115,000 when his term in office ended.

Michaud has been employed by the city as a welfare specialist since 1993, and is vice president of the New Hampshire Local Welfare Administrators' Association.

"We had an opportunity to define this position to best meet Manchester's unique needs, and we now have an opportunity to select a new leader committed to the future success of the city of Manchester and the welfare department," said Craig. "I have the utmost confidence that Ms. Michaud is the right person for the job."

Michaud's nomination lays over for two weeks, with the aldermen scheduled to vote on the matter May 1. In 2016, Michaud earned $76,835 as a welfare specialist, according to salary data provided to the New Hampshire Union Leader by city human resources director Jane Gile.

If confirmed by aldermen, Michaud will earn an annual salary of $85,905.

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City aldermen have yet to finalize the fiscal 2019 municipal budget, and don't expect one until mid-May at the earliest.

Board chair Dan O'Neil has scheduled two nights of special meetings at City Hall at which department heads will discuss budget needs with aldermen.

On May 7 at 5 p.m., aldermen will discuss non-departmental items, and school district officials will go over the proposed school budget.

On May 8 at 5 p.m., department heads from the fire, health, police and public works departments will be in to make their pitches for funding.

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City aldermen have appointed three new members to the Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) board of directors.

They include Elias "Skip" Ashooh, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Michael Skelton, and Alexander Walker, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Catholic Medical Center.

The three replace outgoing members David Eaton, former chairman; former treasurer Lori Chandonnais; and former secretary Dan Muller.

At the MDC board's annual meeting, Don St. Germain of St. Mary's Bank was elected chair, William Craig of Eversource was elected vice chair, Richard Elwell was elected treasurer, and Kate Horgan of the Dupont Group was elected secretary.

The MDC is a nonprofit economic development arm of city government tasked with promoting growth and prosperity in Manchester.

MDC investments have helped finance the rehabilitation of the Chase Block, Dunlap building and McQuades building as well as the expansion of Benefit Strategies on Elm Street. MDC financing also was critical to the development of the Hilton Garden Inn and the rehabilitation of the La Quinta Inn and Suites.

A complete list of Manchester Development Corporation's board of directors can be found at: www.manchesterdevelopmentcorp.com/About-MDC/Board-of-Directors.

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On Tuesday, May 1, the Manchester Transit Authority will collaborate with state and local police and the New Hampshire School Transportation Association, as part of Operation Safe Stop.

The program is designed to educate the public about the dangers of illegally passing stopped school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended.

Data from 29 states responding to a 2017 survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services show 104,000 drivers reported 77,972 vehicles passing their school buses illegally over the course of a single day.

Manchester officials say drivers should anticipate seeing an increased police presence in the city on May 1 targeting drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.


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