NASHUA — Much has been done to reduce the stigma surrounding the city’s Tree Streets neighborhood throughout the past several years, and this weekend that vibrancy and diversity will be celebrated.
The third annual Tree Streets block party will kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday along Ash Street.
“There is a huge amount of cultural energy and enthusiasm in the Tree Streets,” said Alderman Tom Lopez, Ward 4. “And this neighborhood likes to celebrate.”
In 2012, city officials jump-started community pride in the Tree Streets area by creating a Focus on the Tree Streets Day to address issues impacting the downtown streets, including increased crime, density problems and poverty levels.
Around the same time, a Tree Streets neighborhood plan was developed in conjunction with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission.
“I think the stigma is from people outside of the Tree Streets,” Lopez said on Thursday, explaining Saturday’s block party encourages visitors to come to the neighborhood, see its progress and get to know its residents.
“The strengths of the Tree Streets has always been here,” stressed Lopez. “This is a way to bring cultures together, and this is going to be our best year ever.”
He is hoping for several hundred people to participate in the block party, which is more of a cultural festival for people of all ages.
In the past, the event has garnered positive feedback.
“The neighbors always appreciate the opportunity to show off their neighborhood and interact in a positive setting,” said Lopez, adding it is exciting to see the Tree Streets transformed into a street festival for the day.The city has made numerous attempts in recent years to address problems in the diverse Tree Streets community, including the creation of Park Social at Labine and the construction of the Broad Street Parkway.
The Tree Streets include Vine, Chestnut, Pine, Palm, Walnut, Ash, Beech and other streets to either side of West Hollis Street, an area that was previously targeted as a revitalization zone for Nashua.“We have a lot of multicultural restaurants throughout the neighborhood,” said Lopez, explaining many of the restaurants will be participating in a competition for bragging rights for the best rice on the block. Saturday’s rice competition will be hosted by the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter.
Also on tap for the festivities is a reggae concert featuring Mighty Mystic, which is sponsored by Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire.
A carnival, complete with family friendly games and activities, will be presented by local charities.
A free barbecue for the entire community will be hosted by Revive Recovery Center adjacent to Los Amigos Park. Cultural performances and speakers will also be on hand throughout the event, as well as a merchant street fair, touch-a-truck event and more.The event, in partnership with Great American Downtown, will take place from 2-5:30 p.m. on Saturday, with a trivia after-party at The Arbor Restaurant starting at 6 p.m.
Ash Street will be blocked off between Central Street and West Hollis Street from 2-7 p.m. for the festivities.