Goffstown's Village rebuild to be finished in time for Old Home Day
After weeks of road and sidewalk work and commuter traffic backups, drivers making their way through downtown Goffstown should have clear sailing as the Village Rebuild Project wraps up by this Saturday’s Old Home Day.
Launched in the spring of 2017, the $1.3 million renovation project aims to use a combination of new sidewalks with ADA compliant accessibility, traffic medians, and bump-outs that shorten the pedestrian crossings in order to slow traffic and make the downtown area safer and more accessible.
In addition to the road construction, the project has added a number of aesthetic features, including new landscaping, benches, lamp posts, and wooden barrels.
As the town’s Public Works Department and Continental Paving finish the topcoat of the heavily trafficked main drag that runs from Main Street to Mountain Road and North Mast Road at Summer Street, the heavy construction presence of the last several weeks has frustrated drivers caught in the daily traffic snarls.
“I appreciate beautifying our little town, and appreciate water main work as well as fixing roads, but do we have to do it all at once? I had multiple errands to run. Made it to (A)ce after sitting in traffic and said ‘Nope, I’ll just head home,’” wrote Shanun Fiske Carey in a Goffstown Facebook group.
DPW Director Meghan Theriault acknowledged the general traffic frustrations, but noted that public opinion has improved as the bulk of the construction had begun to wind down.
“I understand that people are trying to get where they want to go, but we’re starting to see many positive comments now because the worst is wrapping up and people are starting to see what it looks like,” said Theriault. “It’s all part of construction.”
From here, Theriault says the final phase will focus on North Mast Road along with Summer to Cemetery Street, with the last of the project slated to be complete sometime this fall.
Theriault added that residents should sign up for the DPW email newsletter on the town’s website in order to stay on top of construction news and updates.
With the increased accessibility of the downtown to pedestrians, officials hope to expand opportunities for dining and shopping at local businesses.
Alex Lapointe, owner of the Blue Moose Cafe on Main Street, says the construction has cut into his sales in the short term but expects it to be good for his restaurant in the long run.
“I think it will be a pretty good thing for businesses,” said Lapointe. “People go way too fast through here and the work they’ve done kind of forces you to go a little bit slower. Now I get people that come in and say, ‘I’ve been driving by for three years and I’ve never seen you.’ I think if their objective was to make it look more appealing and stimulate the small businesses in the area, it definitely does a good job.”
Other opinions are more mixed. Sandy Paradis, a current Manchester resident who was born and raised in Goffstown, expressed concern that the project was taking a toll on the town’s parking situation.
“I’ve come to church here in Goffstown for the last 14 years, and now we have fewer parking space and I have to park up on the side streets near the bank,” said the 80-year-old Paradis. “People don’t walk much anymore anyway. They want to park in front of where they want to go and then they want to leave.”
At the other end of the spectrum are residents like Alan Garfield, who said the pre-construction layout made people less willing to walk.
“I walk everywhere and I love the design,” said Garfield. “It’s very pedestrian friendly because the bump-outs shorten the distance you have to walk. You were risking your life before, but now maybe there will be more people walking around.”