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July 18, 2013

State, local support grows for Londonderry project

Town seeks $8.2M in federal aid

LONDONDERRY — The mission to bring 10,000-plus jobs to Pettengill Road turned into a civic pep rally yesterday, headlined by Gov. Maggie Hassan.

About 75 community and business leaders convened with state and local officials for a forum on future economic development of a 1,000-acre area between Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Interstate 93.

Acting Town Manager and police Chief William Hart let them know the future is now.

In the last few weeks, Hart said, Londonderry officials have had at least a half-dozen meetings with people who have the money, vision and ability to bring development to the area.

“We can’t let this moment pass,” Hart said.

The Planning Board recently learned one developer is in the initial phases of proposing a 200,000-square-foot distribution plant that could open as soon as October of next year.

The town is pursuing $8.2 million in federal transportation aid for Pettengill Road development through an economic recovery program.

Building a one-mile, four-lane road is expected to cost more than $12 million.

But also in the mix could be creation of a tax increment financing district to aid development. That’s a mechanism to pay off debt from new infrastructure with future tax revenue.

There’s a lot at stake for the town and state.

A study by Laconia-based Applied Economic Research last year projected the potential for 10,000 to 25,000 jobs from a business park development along Pettengill Road.

The study said the town could see $7.5 million a year in taxes from such a development.

“We really think this is a golden opportunity,” town comprehensive planner John Vogl said.

It’s no longer a question of if Pettengill will develop, he said, but when.

Conditions are right, Applied Economic Research president Russ Thibeault told the forum participants.

“This is ready to go,” he said.

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