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Nashua;59.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-11-23 14:52:37
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Education, professional jobs bring stability to Nashua’s west

EDITOR’S NOTE: Neighborhoods by the Numbers is a multipart six-day series profiling Nashua neighborhoods by digging into economic data. To read previous installments, visit nashuatelegraph.com. Coming Friday: Amherst Street.

Pemberton Road, near Nashua’s western border, is a quiet street of big yards with nicely maintained flower gardens. As other parts of the city have struggled with economic hardships, particularly since the economic crash of 2008, Mitch Milewski, who’s lived on this street for 32 years, said the area has been a bit of an oasis. ...

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Neighborhoods by the Numbers is a multipart six-day series profiling Nashua neighborhoods by digging into economic data. To read previous installments, visit nashuatelegraph.com. Coming Friday: Amherst Street.

Pemberton Road, near Nashua’s western border, is a quiet street of big yards with nicely maintained flower gardens. As other parts of the city have struggled with economic hardships, particularly since the economic crash of 2008, Mitch Milewski, who’s lived on this street for 32 years, said the area has been a bit of an oasis.

“I don’t know of anyone that’s gone unemployed in this neighborhood,” he said. “But I might be wrong.”

This tall, thin Census tract, No. 103.01, which runs from just below Daniel Webster College down to the Nashua River, is full of winding, tree-lined roads with Christian-themed names like Lutheran Drive and Carmine Road. Unemployment in the tract has actually been no lower than in other parts of the city in recent years, but in other ways it’s an economic stand-out.

The median household income in this area is $86,429.

For women who work full-time, this is the highest-paid part of the city, with a typical salary of $66,000. The high wages are, no doubt, connected with education. About 53 percent of adults here have a bachelor’s degree or more, again second only to the Bicentennial area.

Workers in this tract are likely to work in technical fields. Twenty-two percent fall into a Census category that includes professionals like lawyers, as well as science and technology workers and administrative personnel, and, within the category, most are in either science and technology or professional jobs.

Milewski, who has lived in the neighborhood for 32 years, fits the pattern. He has a master’s degree and, before his retirement, worked for defense giant Raytheon. He said his education set him on a path that was lucrative and personally rewarding.

“I traveled a lot, had my share of time off when I needed it,” he said.

Just down the street, Ed Schulz, a CPA who helps run Seelye & Schulz on Amherst Street, said his neighbors are educated professionals, including a teacher and an FBI agent. As far as his own work, he’s seen some clients suffer – particularly metal fabrication companies the firm did work for. But he said his own business, with a diverse range of customers, has done fine.

“It’s not a horrible time,” he said. “But it’s definitely been a lot better … the economy hasn’t picked up.”

Like Milewski, Schulz has lived at his current home for decade. In general, this area sees little turnover in residents from year to year, partly due to the lack of renters. More than 93 percent of homes here are owner-occupied, the second-highest level in the city.

Still, not all parts of Tract 103.01 are as stable as Pemberton Road. To the south, on Majestic Avenue, a street of big, cookie-cutter homes built about a decade ago, Alexander Keller was playing soccer with his 6-year-old son on the complex’s wide, grassy fields. Keller said he and his family have only been living there for three years. He’s a German native working in finance and accounting and was transferred to the U.S. by his company. He said his impression is that many people in the neighborhood are computer engineers who came to Nashua from South Asia.

In yet another neighborhood within the tract, on Cathedral Circle, Becky Kosterman and Andrea Tower were watching their kids roll down a grassy hill on Kosterman’s lawn. Tower said she works in engineering in the medical device field.

“I think it’s been stable,” she said.

Kosterman is a social worker, a job that has allowed her to have her own private practice, working just a couple of days a week so she can spend more time with the kids. She said that’s possible partly because of the nature of the professional job, and partly thanks to the income her husband brings in, working in computer engineering.

“Technology is the way,” she said with a smile.

As Tower and Kosterman talked, they stopped to wave to neighbors walking and biking by.

“There’s a lot of families in the neighborhood,” Kosterman said. “It’s just a friendly, good neighborhood.”