The “New Boston Connects” project was launched on July 20, 2005 by a group of dedicated and energized community residents.
“New Boston Connects” is an outgrowth of the April 2004 Community Profile event called “New Boston Speaks”. This event was held to allow residents to take stock of where we are today and develop an action plan for how we want to operate in the future. One of the five committees formed to continue working on the future of New Boston was the Foot Traffic and Road Safety Committee (FTRSC). Members of this committee applied for a Livable, Walkable Communities (LWC) grant in November 2004 from NH Celebrates Wellness. This non-profit organization, located in Concord NH, is dedicated to serving NH by mobilizing, training and supporting individuals, community teams and organizations to improve the health and well-being of NH residents. In February 2004 we learned we were chosen as one of three communities in NH for the LWC grant.
LWC are places where people of all ages and abilities can easily and safely enjoy walking, bicycling and other forms of recreation. LWC improves a community’s economic health by enabling people to access services locally; improves a community’s environmental health by reducing auto emissions; improves human health by creating opportunities for walking, bicycling and other forms of recreation; and improves community health by providing informal places for people to gather.
The LWC Steering Committee has held two community meetings to identify key destinations in New Boston, the barriers that exist that prevent people from walking and biking to these destinations and solutions for removing the barriers. Lack of crosswalks, speed limit signs, and adequate shoulders; walking in the road during winter months; and increased traffic volume were just a few of the barriers identified during the first community meeting. Solutions included installing and maintaining sidewalks from downtown to the school and beyond to the fairgrounds to allow more children to walk safely to and from school; installing a pedestrian footbridge from the bank area across the river to the Apple Barn area to allow for safe walking on both sides of the bridge; and installing lighting in downtown area for safe walking at night time.
The next step in the process will be for the community to prioritize the barriers that need the most attention and to continue gathering solutions resulting in a long-range plan to make New Boston livable and walkable.
Contact any of the LWC Steering Committee members if you would like to be involved. Members include Lee Ann Allen, Nancy Bierderman, Lee Brown, Betsy Dodge, Dona Fairbairn, Sarah Gagnon, Pat Jennings, Katie Kachavos, Cyndie Katz, Ken Lombard, Roch Larochelle, Bill Morrissey, Gail Parker, Randy Parker, Nonah Poole, Burton Reynolds, Louise Robie, Mike Sindoni, Sandi Van Scoyoc, and Rachel Wallace.