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January 13. 2013 11:23PM

Future of old courthouse in Nashua remains uncertain

NASHUA - The state owns the former Nashua District Courthouse at 25 Walnut St., and is asking around $1 million for the building, according to Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

"I made it clear to the state that I would like it," said Lozeau. "I would like it, but I am not going to pay for it."

With construction of the Broad Street Parkway about to get under way this year, the Walnut Street oval and the surrounding side streets need to be studied thoroughly, Lozeau told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"I'd like to take it (the courthouse) down and clean up that roadway," she said last week.

The former courthouse, which closed in the fall of 2011 and moved its operations into the Hillsborough County courthouse at 30 Spring St., was built in the 1970s.

"I don't think they have had any offers on that building," said Lozeau. "Right now there is a very old 70s concrete structure in the middle of a traffic oval. You come in and you've got a tire store, the back of a garage, a parking lot ..."

The mayor said she hopes to beautify that area.

Recently, city officials approved spending $75,000 on a downtown roadway circulation study that includes the Walnut Street section. Lozeau is optimistic the study, which will identify potential strategies to improve roadway and intersection traffic flow and mobility downtown, will address some of the problems near the old courthouse.

One improvement, Lozeau believes, would be converting East and West Pearl Streets from one-way to two-lane roads.

"I think we have got to get around a table and have people talking about what we want that gateway into the downtown to look like," she said.

As motorists exit the Broad Street Parkway, one of their options will be taking a left turn onto Central Street, which will lead vehicles directly into the downtown area.

"We want that to be an easy thing to do," said Lozeau.

She said some of the traffic patterns near the old courthouse are confusing, especially near Chestnut Street and Clock Tower Place. Lozeau said she is interested in finding out if engineers would recommend keeping the Walnut Street rotary. Stephen Lorentzen of the Bureau of Court Facilities at the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services did not return a phone call seeking comment on the sale of the old courthouse.

khoughton@newstote.com
A look at the site, via Google maps.



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