Letter of Support Brownfields Grant
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Penacook Village Association
PO Box 6174
Penacook NH 03303
www.Penacook.org

October 7, 2010

Ms. Diane Kelley
US EPA Region 1
John W. McCormack Building
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
OSRR-07-2
Boston MA 02109-3912

Re:  Letter of Support - City of Concord, NH US EPA Brownfields Grant Applications
#27 East Street, Penacook (Concord), NH
#31 East Street, Penacook (Concord), NH
#35 East Street, Penacook (Concord), NH

Dear Ms. Kelley:

As you know, Penacook Village is a neighborhood within the City of Concord, New Hampshire.  For over 150 years, the Village thrived as a manufacturing center. As a result, families living in Penacook earned a living wage and took pride in their hard work.  Residents were engaged in civic affairs, children stayed in Penacook to raise their children, and the Village prospered socially and economically. 

One of the largest employers in Penacook was the Allied Leather Tannery. Though the work was hot, dirty, and often dangerous, those who worked at the Tannery did so with a great sense pride.  The Tannery existed in Penacook from 1941 until 1987 when it closed due to bankruptcy.  Not only was the Tannery complex one of the largest employers within Penacook, the sprawling complex also was the dominant focal point on the Village's landscape.  As such, Penacookís community identity was directly linked to the Tannery.  Consequently, while the Tannery was successful, Penacook was known as close knit Village of hard working, industrious people who earned an honest living.  While the people of Penacook certainly remain hard working and dedicated to their community, the pride of the Village has waned for the last 25 years due to the closure of the Tannery and other major employers.  Unfortunately today, the Village is defined not by its hard working residents and rich history but rather by its vacant, blighted, and abandoned properties, idle manufacturing facilities, vacant store fronts, depressed property values as well as limited opportunities for employment, shopping, and dining.

Despite this circumstance, Penacook still has hope.  Working with the City of Concord and Concord 20/20, a group of residents recently formed the Penacook Village Association.  The mission of the association is to ìinvolve citizens in enhancing the quality of life, protecting the historic character, and fostering economic vitality in Penacook Village. The Association is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization which was formed in 2008.  Though we have no paid staff, the Village Association has launched a variety of successful initiatives and programs to enhance the beauty and vitality of Penacook. These initiatives include a flower barrel program within the Villageís central business district, installation of gateway signage at key entrances into the Penacook, a seasonal farmers market, as well as the support of holiday promotions such as the annual Halloween parade and Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.  Some of these programs are undertaken in part with the Penacook Historical Society.

Beyond these initiatives, the Village Association has worked closely with the City of Concord on plans to cleanup and redevelop the former Allied Leather Tannery Complex.  This is of critical importance to the long-term social, economic, and environmental success of Penacook Village. Since its formation, the Village Association has received regular briefings about the progress of this important task from City officials.   During visioning sessions with the City and Concord 20/20, the Village Association has also given extensive feed back to the City relative to the ideas for redevelopment of the site.  These ideas have included a grocery store, a breakfast eatery, as well as a river walk along the Contoocook River which abuts the former Tannery property.

Like the City of Concord, the Penacook Village Association is heavily invested in the future of the former Allied Leather Tannery Complex. While the Tannery site remains a liability, its location in the center of quintessential New England Village next to the scenic Contoocook River makes the property a tremendous development opportunity.  As such, redevelopment of these important properties could prove to be the catalyst needed in order to propel Penacook Village into a new era of pride and prosperity.  However, to accomplish this, the City and the Penacook Village Association need the support of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In summary, thank you for your consideration of the Cityís three separate grant applications to cleanup the former Allied Leather Tannery site.  I welcome you to visit the Associationís website (www.Penacook.org) or to contact me (603) 753-9392 should you require additional information about the Penacook Village Association.

Sincerely,



Kathryn  G. Bush
President, Penacook Village Association

To involve citizens in enhancing the quality of life, protecting the historic character, and fostering economic vitality in Penacook Village.
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