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August 13. 2014 11:23AM

Nashua aldermen to consider buying church for health building

NASHUA — City officials will consider a proposal to acquire a vacant church property on Mulberry Street and eventually construct the city’s new health department building on the site.

“We have looked at different sites for the public health building for years now,” said Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. “I would have liked to have seen this built 15 years ago.”

Lozeau is recommending that the Board of Aldermen approve the acquisition of the property at 11-13 Mulberry St., the former home of Iglesia Pentecostal Y Misionera Inc. of Puerto Rico.

The church, including former Rev. Candido Garcia, previously occupied the two-story building housed on the 0.4 acre lot until about 2009, when an internal political dispute within the church led to court action and Garcia was ordered to vacate the parcel.

“We have been trying to secure a property in this location for quite a while. I would propose that we take down the old building and build a new one,” Lozeau said Tuesday. The price-tag to acquire the property is $355,000.

Lozeau said she has already met with an architect about the preliminary proposal, and a new, two-story, 20,000 square foot building would likely be ideal for the health department and perhaps other municipal uses.

The city already owns a parking lot nearby on the corner of Elm and Mulberry streets, which makes the location convenient, she said. Furthermore, the existing, dated Division of Public Health and Community Services building is located on the same road at 18 Mulberry St.

“Because of all of the renovations needed, it is not affordable to stay there,” Lozeau said of the current facility. “I am hopeful this will receive support from aldermen.” If city officials approve the acquisition, Lozeau said the best case scenario would be construction starting in the spring of 2015.

According to the proposed purchase-and-sale agreement, there is a closing date on or before Oct. 1, which is contingent upon a vote by the Board of Aldermen and a review and recommendation by the Nashua City Planning Board. City staff has been working with TF Moran since early last year to determine what scenarios are available to construct a city health building, possibly in the vicinity of the Bronstein Apartments on nearby Central Street.

At the time, aldermen were presented with various options where the health department building could be housed between Stevens, Everett and Pine streets just west of Gate City Fence.

“Public Health has waited an awfully long time to find a home,” Lozeau said at the time, explainiSWng her first option to raze the Bronstein Apartments and construct the building on that site would likely be delayed because of sequestration challenges. The city has also considered purchasing the former Nashua District Court House and converting it into Public Health offices. However, Lozeau said earlier that the price to acquire the court building and also refurbish it would be cost prohibitive. The mayor’s proposal to purchase the property at 11-13 Mulberry St. was introduced to aldermen on Tuesday. It will now be assigned to an aldermanic committee for further review before a formal vote is taken by the board.

khoughton@newstote.com


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