- Image courtesy: City's GIS map.
- Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS
The City of Nashua is considering acquiring three pieces of property near the Four Hills Landfill. Seen here is one of those properties, Rick's Autocare at 836 W. Hollis St in Nashua.
- Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS
The City of Nashua acquired three pieces of property near the Four Hills Landfill. Seen here is 844 W. Hollis St in Nashua, which will be demolished in a Nashua Fire Rescue training burn.
- Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS
The City of Nashua is considering acquiring three pieces of property near the Four Hills Landfill. Seen here is one of those properties, 848 W. Hollis St in Nashua.
Resolution to spend $650k on W. Hollis Street tracts tabled again
NASHUA – Aldermen will wait to hear from the Board of Public Works and Planning Board before taking action on Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s proposal to purchase three tracts of land fronting the city landfill.
On Wednesday, aldermen on the infrastructure committee once again tabled Lozeau’s proposal to buy the property, which may one day be home to a consolidated Public Works Department.
The resolution to spend $650,000 to buy the properties at 836, 844 and 848 W. Hollis St. will remain in the committee to give time for Public Works and Planning officials to review the legislation and issue their recommendations on whether to buy the land, said Alderman-at-Large and committee Chairman Mark Cookson.
The Planning Board will see the resolution next Thursday. The Board of Public Works will review it during their April 19 meeting, when Lozeau says its nonpublic meeting minutes regarding the purchase should be released.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a better understanding of what was discussed and how it was discussed” during the Board of Public Works meeting, Cookson said. “I don’t know if they’ve actually seen the legislation or if it was just an idea floated by them.”
The infrastructure committee first tabled Lozeau’s resolution during its monthly meeting March 28.
The committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month, Cookson said, but Lozeau had requested another meeting this week to discuss the plans.
Cookson said this Wednesday was the best date to hold the meeting, due to scheduling conflicts in the coming weeks.
“It’s not my intention to push this through,” Cookson said Wednesday. “If it gets tabled again, it gets tabled again. I want to make sure we have all the information.”
Combined, the three parcels of land in question make up approximately 3.4 acres and are assessed at $889,500.
Five hundred thousand dollars would be used from the city’s “Pennichuck Acquisition Fund” to purchase 836 and 844 W. Hollis St. from the Docos Family Revocable Trust of 2009, according to the resolution.
Another $150,000 would be used from the fiscal 2012 general contingency fund to buy 848 W. Hollis St. from Robert and Gail Brown, of Indiantown, Fla.
The resolution to acquire the parcels first was introduced as new business at the aldermen’s March 13 meeting.
The short-term plan for the property would be to change the way residents get in and out of the city landfill, Lozeau has said.
“Even if we never consolidated public works, this makes good sense to own this property right in front of the city landfill, because it’s right on top of it,” Lozeau said. “People are not going to be able to sell those properties.”
The long-term plan would be to move the city’s public works offices on Riverside Drive, a site near Holman Stadium, the street department offices and garage at Stadium Drive, and a Parks & Recreation trailer by Greeley Park to West Hollis Street.
One benefit that would come from the consolidation would be the ability to allow Conway Arena to expand into a second ice rink, Lozeau said.
At a March Trestle Brook Neighborhood Crime Watch meeting, Lozeau and Alderman Mike Tabacsko, who represents the neighborhood, shared with residents the plans to move Public Works in front of the landfill.
Tabacsko said the few who attended the meeting were “very amenable” to the idea of the city offices moving in, after they had protested the sale of those properties to a commercial developer looking to build a gas station and convenience store there in recent years.
The cost analysis for bringing Nashua’s Public Works departments together is still under way, Lozeau said, but she has estimated that the city would need to bond about $15 million over a number of years to do it. That analysis should be complete in a few months, she said.
Cookson said aldermen were split over whether to buy the land at Wednesday’s meeting.
Though some have voiced support for the purchase, Alderman-at-Large Jim Donchess and Ward 9 Alderman Dan Moriarty have cited concerns that the city should be spending its money to cover other needs, such as a Police Department budget issue that recently resulted in reductions in school resource officers and limits on certain special patrol units.
“The real underlying issue is one of finances and where you’re going to spend the money,” Moriarty said Wednesday. “We need to figure out if we’re going to solve the problem with the Police Department budget. We need to solve that first, because if we do give them more money, that’s going to come out of the budget as a supplemental appropriation … that would seem to be more pressing than the land.”
Cookson said he wants to see a more complete financial picture of what it would take to combine the Public Works locations before issuing a recommendation to make the initial $650,000 purchase.
But Lozeau says the city is investing in its infrastructure properly and has been using the right balance of cash and bonds in its spending, urging aldermen to focus on the short-term goal of acquiring the parcels before tackling the costs of the long-term plan for consolidating the city offices.
Lozeau has said she hopes to have the purchase-and-sales agreements approved by aldermen, and the sales closed, by early May.
The purchase-and-sales agreement for the properties lists April 30 as the closing date, but Cookson said the mayor was willing to try and get an extension from the property owners if needed.
Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Gill on Twitter (@Telegraph_MAG).