IT’S AN INTERESTING coincidence that mostly seems to occur whenever he assumes the corner office.
In a column last July, I wondered out loud if Nashua would make the famous Money Magazine list again at the end of the year. Nashua was the very first city to lead the nation in Money’s “Best Places to Live” list back in 1987 (Mayor Jim Donchess) and it’s the only city to be named No. 1 twice (1997, Mayor Donald Davidson).
Then again, in 2016, after Donchess won the mayoral seat following a 24-year hiatus, strangely enough, the magazine announced that Nashua had nailed 16th in the top 50 places to live in the country. Our city was the only Granite State community to make the list.
Well, it’s getting kind of weird around here, and I’m starting to speculate about Mayor Donchess and his possible connection to Money Magazine because the publication has recently catapulted the Gate City back to its number one spot on its other list of “Best Places to Live in Every State in 2018.”
My fine friends in the Queen City might be shaking their heads in disbelief having been denied the honor once more. And I am sure there are many others who don’t place much faith in a magazine’s “best” lists.
Still, a high ranking for any community feels fantastic no matter who’s in office. These kinds of top honors have most city residents, business owners and hard-working city officials swelling with pride. I only wish the late Aldermanic President Brian McCarthy were still around City Hall to enjoy the accolades being bestowed upon the community. The city lost him suddenly in November at age 64.
McCarthy’s longtime dedication to public service and love of the Gate City has helped steer New Hampshire’s second largest city into developing as a forward-moving, modern community with a walkable downtown focusing more on entertainment, services and housing.
Let’s not forget that the Gate City is not perfect; we do have our blemishes.
For instance, in addition to the ongoing opioid crisis here, Police Chief Andrew Lavoie also told me that there’s been an aggressive return of crack and meth. That is not unusual as many communities across the nation continue struggling with these kinds of drug problems. And our city has also been vigorously fighting back and initiating new treatment programs and funding to find a permanent solution.
In addition, Nashua has become an expensive place to set down roots, and the high property taxes here reflect this.
Trying to find an apartment can also be quite challenging, but city officials have been committed to bringing more affordable housing developments to the heart of Nashua. One of the newest sites is the Marshall Street Apartments at Marshall and East Hollis streets. The design features one-, two- and three-bedroom units and will be considered workforce housing. One building of the four-structure development is expected to open in the early months of 2019. All four apartment buildings should be available by the end of next summer, according to the developer Dick Anagnost.
Rents, in general, however, are soaring again.
For instance, the average Nashua apartment rent this past September was $1,474.
Money Magazine says it arrives at its best-list winners by “crunching thousands of data points across hundreds of areas across the country.”
The publication describes Nashua as “a charming town with no sales tax and a rich history.”
Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.