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Residents discuss Hooksett Village

HOOKSETT — At a meeting Tuesday night hosted by the Community Development Department at Robie’s Country Store and Deli to discuss the preservation of the Hooksett Village area, residents had a hard time defining what the village is.

The meeting was the third run by Roger Hawk Hawk Planning Resources out of Concord, who was hired by the town for more than $20,000 to help define what area encompasses the village and how best to preserve it.

“The village area is the historic area of the town. Many of the structures here are on the National Register of Historic Places, so we’re trying to come up with some ideas on how we can preserve and protect the uniqueness of the village for generations to come,” Town Planner Joanne Duffy said.

Duffy, who said that Hawk’s firm was hired last fall using federal grant money, said interested residents and officials have been split for months as to what area of Hooksett actually encompasses the village. While most in attendance agreed that the area surrounding Robie’s and the Hooksett fire station can be defined as the village, there was some debate as to whether other areas should be labeled as the village.

“I don’t see how Pine Street is part of the village,” Joan Lydon said.

Another issue Hawk said needs to be addressed, is that residents seem interested in preserving the historic nature of the village while at the same time resisting increased zoning regulations that would do just that.

“You need to find a balance where you are not over regulating but still helping to preserve the historic qualities of the village for future generations,” Hawk said.

To that end, Hawk recommended during his presentation that the town improve the village’s pedestrian access by installing sidewalks, cross walks, and traffic control measures, improve access and scenic views of the river, provide educational offerings about the village, ensure buildings in the village are reasonably maintained and allow for more businesses to open in the area surrounding Robie’s.

Hawk discussed the possibility of a small commercial area, possibly established around Robie’s, where small businesses like cafes or dentist offices would build off one another instead of competing.

“We need to give the area more of a sense of destination,” Hawk said.

Robert Schroeder, president of the Robie’s preservation group, said that it was good that the meeting was occurring.

“It is always good to discuss what residents want out of their town,” he said.

However, not all in attendance were in agreement that anything needed to be done with the village. Bernadette Chevrette, 89, said she has lived in Hooksett all her life and that nothing should be done involving the village because it might result in it changing.

“Instead of of worrying about the village just leave it alone, don’t define it, just clean up some of the houses and put up some plaques,” she said.

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