Vision is the stuff of opportunity
How are economic engines born? The lives of two Peterborough residents who recently passed away — Wayne Green and John Hopkins Morison — tell us they start with a vision.
Morison, whose roots in Peterborough date to 1750 and the first settlement of the town, wasn’t one to rest on his family’s laurels. His business acumen allowed him to jump-start the once bankrupt Hitchiner Company of Milford, when he took it on shortly after returning to New Hampshire in 1949 after a stint in Brazil. But Morison’s contributions to the economy didn’t stop at manufacturing.
Most notably, Morison was the visionary behind the multimillion dollar economic driver, Peterborough’s RiverMead retirement community.
Today, 300 seniors live at RiverMead where 265 people, making $5 million in wages and benefits a year, are employed. The nonprofit paid $550,000 in taxes to the town of Peterborough in 2013, and is expected to pay $950,000 in 2014.
Morison saw a need, a need for seniors to have a place to call home as they got older. RiverMead was one of the first four retirement communities to be built in New Hampshire when it was established in the mid-1990s, putting Peterborough on the map as a progressive rural town that welcomes retirees not just to stay, but to relocate. About 65 percent of RiverMead residents lived in the area before making the community their home.
As the population in the region continues to age and as more and more people retire in New Hampshire, RiverMead will undoubtably continue to grow, filling needs in the local job market and helping to maintain a customer base for local shops and services. Currently, about $4 million over and above RiverMead’s payroll is invested in Peterborough and neighboring towns each year. And that amount is sure to grow. In 2014, the company’s projected operating budget is set at $14 million, up $1 million over 2013.
Responsible in large measure for the heyday of technology publishing in Peterborough, Wayne Green, 91, of Peterborough, and formerly Hancock, died Sept. 13. He was one of the founders of Byte, a computer magazine that became influential nationally in the late 1970s and 1980s. Green then spurred the establishment of an array other publications in Peterborough, as the town became a hub for technical writers, editors and publishers.
Green was born in Brooklyn, and developed a passion for ham radio. Build it yourself was how Green seemed to see the world, and 73 magazine, which he marketed to other radio enthusiasts, reflected that thinking. The same thinking spurred the development of the microcomputer publishing industry, which Byte was at the forefront of. When the idea of building your own computer in the garage was the ultimate hobby for tech geeks, Green was there, dialoguing with them in print and employing others to do so as well. Green was even distributing software his readers submitted for others to download to their garage-made computers. His vision of a race of hands-on, personal computer techies undoubtably shaped the future of computing. His publications also brought lots of new people to the Monadnock region.
Green and Morison both saw a need and opportunity. And their visions helped shape the region you see today.