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December 12. 2012 10:07PM

Nashua sorting out surplus properties

NASHUA - Despite a debate about whether a previous Broad Street Parkway meeting should have been held in non-public session, elected officials this week approved minutes from the closed-door meeting - but with several redactions.

On Wednesday, written minutes of the Oct. 23 meeting were made public, revealing information about several properties that were formerly acquired by the City of Nashua but may no longer be necessary to pave way for the future road.

These surplus properties, with a combined value of about $1.8 million, were bought under eminent domain with federal dollars. However, if they are no longer needed, they must be offered back to the original owners within 10 years of the purchase date, according to Stephen Bennett, city attorney.

While some details of the meeting were left sealed, the majority of information has now been made public. During the non-public meeting, Bennett told the Board of Aldermen that it has the responsibility of returning to the Broad Street Parkway fund the fair market value of any property the city decides to keep. In return, it must sell the property the city does not want, and also return that money back into the project fund.

Remnants of several properties may still be needed for the Broad Street Parkway, including: 44 Broad St. (former Nashua Outdoor Power Supply), 7 and 9 Hillcrest Ave., 21 Fairmount St., 21 Pine St. Ext. and 11 Baldwin St., according to the recently released document. The old Cote Lot, 21 Pine St. Ext. and a large portion of the NIMCO building, which was the most significant parcel and probably the most expensive parcel acquired, are no longer in the path of the parkway, says the paperwork.

The DH Shea building in the Nashua Millyard, sometimes referred to as the waste house, is another issue that needs to be addressed, according to Tom Galligani, economic development director.

"Our agreement with the state and federal government stipulates that we need to save this building and relocate (it) somewhere within our historic Millyard," Galligani said.

The city will have to pay to relocate it, and also find a location to house the building and showcase it, he added."We've been treading very carefully with each and all of these different property owners. They all have needs, wants and many of them are competing for scarce resources that we have available," said Galligani.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said that she, along with her staff, have been meeting with various property owners to discuss the different options.

Relocation and demolition discussions are all currently taking place, she added. One option includes consolidating certain properties into a single, larger parcel to sell to a potential developer, explained Kathy Hersh, community development director.

"It may not be a single developer, but I believe we should look at the whole thing comprehensively," Hersh said, adding it is important to dispose of any unwanted properties before the parkway is complete. If a parcel is held by the city, and after the parkway is built officials decide to sell it, the proceeds of that sale will go to the Department of Transportation, she said.

The controversial topic of the Bronstein Apartment complex was also raised by the mayor, who said at some point a decision is going to have to made if the city wants to relocate the Nashua Division of Public Health onto that site. Lozeau has mentioned previously her desire to ultimately raze the Bronstein Apartments as a way to eventually integrate lower income residents into mixed income neighborhoods, and to possibly serve as a nice entryway into the city once the parkway is constructed. The former Nashua District Courthouse has also been considered as the future home of the health department, but Lozeau said the current Bronstein site - 48-unit public housing complex now home to about 160 low income residents - would be more ideal.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at khoughton@newstote.com.


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