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Demolition of Rockingham Park paves way for 'village'

By Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent

May 14. 2017 10:01PM
Demolition of Rockingham Park buildings began last week. Many historically significant items have been removed to either be auctioned off or saved. (Melissa Proulx)

SALEM — Demolition of the former Rockingham Park racetrack has begun as the start date for the first round of the Tuscan Village construction project approaches.

Removal of the building that once housed the racetrack’s clubhouse, a poker room and a hall that hosted concerts and professional boxing has been underway for the last week, according to developers.

Some of the historical items in the building were either removed and auctioned off by the former owners, or now sit in storage as they wait to be incorporated into the Tuscan Village project.

“The previous owners of the racetrack have already removed all items of historical significance, and what we are removing now is the remaining structure,” said Joe Faro, owner and developer of the Tuscan Village project. “Once the structure is removed, we will be breaking ground on Tuscan Village. We couldn’t be more excited about the future for this property and the many benefits it is going to bring to the city and the region.”

An official groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held in June.

Already, parts of the first phase of the project have been approved, including conditional approval for a 256-unit apartment complex. Other proposed uses include restaurants, entertainment venues, business and medical offices.

In all, the development will encompass 120 acres.

A full rundown of the project can be found on the Planning Board’s page on the town’s website.

The Planning Board approved a new project manager position to assist Tuscan Village developers over the next few years as the construction progresses.

“As we know, the first phase of this project has been very active,” said Andre Garron, community development director and assistant town manager.

The project manager role will be temporary and will only be in place for a few years, Garron said. It’s meant to help developers through the approval and conceptual parts of the process.

This position will be paid for through application fees, and based on the contract funding for it will not exceed $75,000 per year.

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