Park, charrette considered for downtown Wilton vitality

  • Alison Meltzer of Wilton presents a potential design for a river walk during the town’s budget hearing last week.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/20/2017 11:48:04 PM

Create a downtown that people want to spend time in, and you’ll attract business owners that want to invest.

That’s the basics behind an idea to create a miniature river walk and park area next to the police station, said Economic Development Committee Chair Jennifer Beck. 

“We have these gorgeous two rivers, the Souhegan and Stoney Brook. But how many people have ever just stood by and watched them go?” said Beck in a recent interview about the proposed park. 

The Economic Development Committee is proposing to take $42,000 from the Cooley Park Fund to develop the area to add a grassy spot with picnic tables and benches, and a path where people can learn about the history of the area. Residents will vote at Town Meeting whether to allow use of the funds for the development of the area. It’s a small piece of development that Beck hopes to see eventually grow into a fully-developed river walk – one of the potential development goals the committee has been discussing for the development of Wilton’s downtown area.

There are some logistical issues left to work out, said Beck – Department of Public Works Director Steve Eliot questioned maintenance and where snow from the surrounding parking lot would go – but Beck thinks those issues can be easily resolved. Likely, she said, the walk wouldn’t be available in the snowy months, and could be configured so that snow could be deposited somewhere on park grounds as usual.

Beck sees the park as the first step in a larger process of getting some vitality back into Wilton’s Main Street – paired with another article on the warrant from the Economic Development Committee this year. The first is a $7,000 for a charette – a series of community planning meetings – with PLAN NH. The charette process results in an overall vision, including producing design and drawings of potential projects or development.

If the town is accepted for the charette process, said Beck, she hopes to tie the vision that comes from that process with a pilot program from the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, which will cover the implementation phase of those projects identified by PLAN NH. 

Essentially, said Beck, PLAN NH will help the town identify what it wants to do, and the NRPC will help the town identify how to do it – what zoning needs to be changed, for example. 


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