Contract awarded for new park and ride

Staff photo by Don Himsel/CR Helicopter The city has approved a contract with a Windham company at 25 Crown Street in Nashua, a spot near the center of this photograph.

NASHUA – The city is moving forward with the Crown Street park and ride project after the Board of Aldermen approved a $1.6 million construction contract Tuesday night.

“We should definitely go forward with this,” Mayor Jim Donchess said.

The city is using federal funds to pay George R. Carin and Sons, of Windham, to demolish the warehouse at 25 Crown St. and develop the site into a park and ride facility.

Nashua purchased the property in 2013 for $1.3 million, which came from federal funds, with the intention of using it as a rail platform for commuter rail from Boston to Nashua. While the commuter rail prospects for Nashua have stalled out in Concord, the site has been identified as a possible location for a train stop if the train service is ever approved and funded.

The warehouse, located next to MakeIt Labs, was the site of the Gregg & Sons Sash and Door manufacturing business from the late 19th well into the 20th century; it was then transferred to Triangle Pacific Cabinet Co. and finally Armstrong Cabinet Co.

The city’s project manager, Brian Colburn, has said that since the property was purchased almost entirely with a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality federal grant, Nashua is locked into developing the site even without turning it into a train station. The grant stipulates that the city would either have to pay the government back for the grant or use the property in a way that meets the grant’s usage requirements. The proposed 250-space, 133,860-square-foot park and ride meets the grant requirements.

The proposed development also includes a green space as part of the plan, including a field with walking trails.

A more than $200 million proposal to bring commuter rail service to Nashua and Manchester was shelved with the election of Gov. Chris Sununu, who opposed the plan as presented, though he remains open to a service that comes up to just Nashua. Donchess has said a Nashua-only service is a possibility, though there are no proposals on that as of yet.