Littleton residents defend their turf
Bill Freeland, who lives in Littleton, but not at Parker Village, rejected a number of claims made by Littleton attorney Brien Ward regarding criminal activity at Parker Village. (BOB HOOKWAY PHOTO)
Brien Ward complained to selectmen last month that an unusually high number of serious crimes take place at the development just north of downtown Littleton on Route 116. He asked the board to encourage state and federal housing officials to close it by March 1 and find other homes for the approximately 125 tenants who live there, including 65 children.
Ward - who blamed the development's managers for what he said was their lack of proper oversight - faced about 75 people Monday, most of them Parker Village residents.
"We're not criminals," said resident Barbara Fedele, 80. "I love it over there, and I want to stay there," she told the selectmen.
Paul Stewart's Bedford-based firm, Stewart Property Management, oversees the housing development. He appeared Monday evening and also took exception to Ward's figures, describing his allegations as "cruel" stereotyping of residents.
He said the statistics Ward presented regarding police department calls to Parker Village were skewed, and did not, for example, take into consideration its higher population when comparing it to other local housing developments.
Stewart said his firm manages 115 properties, including others in Littleton and in the North Country communities of Bethlehem, Groveton, Gorham and North Stratford.
He said Parker Village tenants' financial status is "very low income and extremely low income," and included seniors and residents with disabilities.
"I am not here to tell you that Parker Village is without flaws. No system based on human activity can make that claim. But I can tell you unequivocally that Parker Village is a viable and successful community that provides decent, well-maintained, affordable housing and an exceptional social benefit to the community," he said.
Stewart said all applicants for housing are screened and their criminal records are examined. An on-site manger has been present to handle the day-to-day operation, he said.
Pauline DiNatale, Stewart's on-site manager, told an applauding crowd and the selectmen, "We are not a community of criminals, nor are we a public nuisance."
Ward said in an interview Tuesday that he had never called Parker Village residents criminals. He pointed out that he had said earlier his concern over violent incidents at Parker Village included his worries about the safety of the residents there. That was in light of a stabbing that resulted in a long prison term being given last year to a former Parker Village resident, and more recent assault cases, including a police investigation of a sexual assault on a 14-year-old victim, and complaints of criminal threatening and stalking.
Ward went to the front of the meeting Monday to go over some of the figures he had relied on. He did not repeat his call for the units to be closed and the residents to be relocated.
"This is not a cause for me; it's a problem," Ward said Tuesday. "It's now in the hands of the selectmen to decide on the appropriate action."
Board Chairwoman Marghie Seymour said the selectmen would continue to examine the matter before deciding on a course of action.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Comedian Joan Rivers dead at age 81 says daughter - 0
- U.S. says Islamic State video of journalist's killing is authentic - 0
- No paper on Monday; check UnionLeader.com for updated, breaking news - 0
- Concord attorney Leahy dies - 0
- Robin Williams’ ashes are scattered in San Francisco Bay - 0
- Syracuse, Iowa crowned top party schools - 0
- Parking fines cause disputes, raise revenues - 1
- Jon Cavaiani dies at 70; desperate stand in '71 led to Medal of Honor - 0
- Meriam Ibrahim, family welcomed as long journey ends in Manchester - 2
READER COMMENTS: 1
- GT Advanced Technology attorney hoping for Apple agreement today to allow more openness in bankruptcy court - 0
- Nashua caretaker wants evidence suppressed in sexual assault case - 0
- Former coach from Nashua charged in sex assaults claims confession was involuntary - 0
- NH highways have potentialy deadly guardrail end pieces, transportation commissioner says - 0
- Neighbor won't be charged in shooting death of Rumney chiropractor - 11
- Staples says it is probing possible payment card data breach - 1
- Manchester police: Ga. man stole truck in Mass. to visit mom in NH - 0
- South African Olympian Pistorius sentenced to five years in girlfriend's murder - 0
- Expect the unexpected in NHIAA field hockey tourneys - 0
A series of sharp exchanges at 2nd CD debate
Murder-suicide ruled in Fremont deaths
Keene police working to identify rioters, notify other colleges of students' participation
Locked in a dead heat, Shaheen, Brown spar