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August 28. 2014 9:32PM

Nashua panel wants details on proposed site for city's new public health building

NASHUA — An aldermanic committee has delayed voting on a proposal by Mayor Donnalee Lozeau to acquire a vacant church property and construct the city’s new public health building on the site.

The Committee on Infrastructure reviewed Lozeau’s request this week to enter into a $355,000 purchase-and-sale agreement, but tabled a formal vote pending additional information such as an appraisal of the property, a cost estimate for a new building and whether the sellers would be willing to extend the Oct 1. deadline.

Lozeau is recommending aldermen approve the acquisition of a .4 acre lot at 11-13 Mulberry St., the former home of Iglesia Pentecostal Y Misionera Inc. of Puerto Rico. The church is diagonally across from the city’s existing public health building. “It is just such a great opportunity,” Lozeau said.

The mayor estimated it could cost up to $60,000 to raze the old church.

“I feel uncomfortable with the sudden time crunch,” Alderman David Schoneman said of the closing date.

Lozeau said there is about $1.2 million left in a fund reserved for city buildings, which includes the health department. She also said that regardless of whether the public health building is constructed at 11-13 Mulberry St., the property should still be purchased by the city because there are several other city-owned parcels in the area, along with adjacent parking.

Alderman-at-Large Lori Wilshire said the existing health building is in poor shape, unsafe and not handicapped-accessible.

“I think this is a win-win,” Wilshire said. Lozeau also floated the idea of having Greater Nashua Dental Connection and the Child Advocacy Center of Nashua relocate into the new health building. But Alderman-at-Large James Donchess said he had several reservations about the acquisition, questioning whether the city should be borrowing money to build space for other organizations, even if they are deserving. Donchess said that public safety and education should be the city’s top priorities right now.

The proposed purchase-and-sale agreement is contingent on a vote by the Board of Aldermen and a review and recommendation by the Nashua City Planning Board.

khoughton@newstote.com


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