Ideas for Millyard's future soughtBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 17. 2016 7:28PM
MANCHESTER — Have a few ideas on the future of Manchester’s Millyard area? Then folks with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and planning firm CivicMoxie want to hear from you.
The next Manchester Connects event has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, at 5:30 p.m. at UNH Manchester, 88 Commercial St.
Over two years ago, about a dozen people began meeting to discuss their vision for Manchester’s Millyard. Nearly 100 people attended the first Manchester Connects event in May, sharing their thoughts on potential improvements to the area.
The session was led by urban planner and MIT lecturer Susan Silberberg of CivicMoxie, hired by the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission to develop a multimodal transportation and land-use plan for the city’s downtown area, the Millyard and riverfront.
The Manchester Connects planning initiative is focused on improving connectivity in the Millyard — determining how best to help people move through and to the area on foot, by bike, car and bus. The goal of the project is to develop a multimodal plan with recommended policies and programs for transit, pedestrians, bicycles, parking and roadways.
Part 1 of the project — compiling data and ideas — is on track to be completed next month. Funding is provided through the SNHPC’s Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) agreement with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
In addition to learning what ideas the CivicMoxie team heard from attendees of the first session and giving feedback, attendees at the July 27 session will also have the opportunity to discuss a community-driven pilot project to improve Gateway Park.
Located at the corner of Granite and Commercial streets, at the entrance to the Millyard from Exit 5 off Interstate 293, this small park is in a key location but underutilized, according to Sarah Jacobs, director of Strategic Initiatives at UNH Manchester.
“It’s rectangular, about a city block in length,” said Jacobs. “There’s an old concrete circle in it where a playground once stood. There’s also a gaslight. If you’re like me, you’ve probably gone past it many times and never noticed it.”
Jacobs said a renovation effort at the park could help jump-start changes to the area. Attendees of the July 27 session can “help imagine what this park could look like, what kinds of activities could take place there,” and how the area could connect to the rest of the Millyard, downtown Manchester and the Merrimack River.
Jacobs said she hopes to schedule a session with residents of the 100 or so apartments in a building adjacent to Gateway Park prior to July 27, to hear specifically what they would like to see done with the area.
Kids’ activities, pizza and beverages will be provided for the July 27 session. All are welcome, and anyone planning to attend is asked to email Linda Moore of SNHPC at LMoore@snhpc.org.