Sign at closed diner reveals discontent about Nashua plans
The message, written on a blackboard in pink chalk at what up until Christmas Eve was Jackie’s Diner, reads, “Due to the corruption between the city of Nashua and Main Street Methodist Church five businesses will be displaced by eminent domain without any compensation so that the city can have another parking garage.”
“At first, we all did feel like the mayor wanted us out,” said Susanne Reynolds, owner of Chuck’s Barber Shop, which has been operating in the same spot since 1984.
“The church is our landlord,” said Reynolds. “They own the building, and they can do what they want.”
“Jackie’s Diner shut down for three weeks in July,” said Reynolds, adding that owner Carol Montminy redid the dining room, updated the menu and spent about $120,000 in new equipment and upgrades. “She made a gourmet kitchen in the basement.”
And Jackie’s Diner wasn’t the only business to invest in the 124-year-old building owned by the church. Reynolds and the other three owners have painted, patched up leaks, repaired water damage from flooding and made other improvements.
In an interview in November, the Rev. Richard Cullen told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the church’s renovation project is part of a plan to play a larger role in downtown Nashua. Cullen, however, also acknowledges that the decision to tear down the building was difficult.
“They feed the homeless and they run a food pantry,” she said.
Still, she questions the decision to close five businesses and put several dozen people out of work.
But Reynolds said she hasn’t heard much from any city or business leaders about possible sites where her shop can relocate.
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