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Staff photo by Don Himsel

The millyard smokestack, October 24, 2011.
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Historic buildings vs. Broad Street Parkway in city hearing

NASHUA – A sharply divided city finance committee voted 3-2 Tuesday to send a proposed $1.5 million contract for the design of the Broad Street Parkway to the full Board of Aldermen for a vote in a week without any recommendation.

The decision came after Aldermen-at-Large Barbara Pressly and David Deane joined Ward 4 Alderman Paul Chasse and voted against sending the measure to the board with a positive recommendation.

The full Board of Aldermen will take up the issue on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Only four residents attended the session, and all spoke strongly against the road project that has been delayed repeatedly for more than 40 years.

Residents Fred Sheldon and Geoff Daly joined state Rep. Lisa Scontsas, a Republican, and local author Robin Ann Peters in denouncing the project, saying it would destroy the Millyard and several of its historically significant buildings.

“I’m against it cutting into a beautiful part of our history,” Sheldon said.

Peters joined Pressly in criticizing the amount of information about the project that has been released by City Hall.

The claim was vehemently denied by a visibly frustrated Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

“The value of the Millyard is unequivocally in the buildings that are there,’’ said Peters, whose family owns one of the four structures slated to come down. “It is the mark you will leave on this city forever.’’

Pressly said delaying the roadway a bit longer while officials study how to preserve more of the Millyard wouldn’t hurt anyone.

The historic boiler building should be preserved, she and others said, simply because of the industrial innovations it represents.

Pressly said the Board of Aldermen needs to be more involved in the project.

Currently the Board of Public Works is the lead local governmental body as the project moves forward.

“That’s the crux of the problem,” Pressly said. “The Board of Aldermen not involved enough.’’

Lozeau said aldermen gave the go-ahead for the plan when they approved a $35 million bond to finance the project in 2008.