NASHUA — City officials have been presented with a proposal that would enhance the eastern edge of Nashua and convert it into a residential and industrial rail yard district.
Tim Cummings, economic development director, is proposing the creation of an East Hollis Street tax increment financing (TIF) district to create a mixed-use environment in that part of the city.
The TIF plan would enhance employment and residential opportunities for residents within the district, and would encourage economic development in the area, Cummings said.
“In this day and age, the market has changed,” Cummings recently told the aldermanic Planning & Economic Development Committee.
The East Hollis Street area has historically been filled with heavy industrial businesses, along with the traditional rail yard, he said. Now, however, Cummings said, the area is highly amenable to multifamily housing initiatives.
“Some of this (existing) housing stock is in very poor condition and needs some assistance, and we have very limited resources to put towards some of the housing stock already,” Cummings said.
A TIF rail yard district would help provide dollars for that initiative, he said, adding the plan would work to incentivize redevelopment on some empty or underutilized mill properties and factories.
The proposed TIF plan would expand the property tax base, create new parks, extend the Heritage Trail, develop open space networks along the riverfront and connect those recreational areas to trails.
Mayor Jim Donchess previously announced his intention to create a rail yard district in this vicinity of the city.
“To do that, we need to develop the framework to create the public improvements,” Cummings said.
“We need to make sure that we are building all types of housing in this area,” said Sarah Marchant, community development director. She said the city must consider other types of housing besides large-scale apartments.
“We are very far behind,” she said of the housing situation.
Alderman Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja stressed the importance of balancing redevelopment and housing in the East Hollis Street area while also maintaining industries that are already there and supporting local jobs.
“There are certainly active businesses in that area,” she said. “... I also think it is a great opportunity to look at some housing that is affordable.”