7-16-2013 News

A proposal to sell the Pearl Street Parking Lot to a developer without going through the normal Request for Proposal process is in trouble at Manchester City Hall.  Aldermen on the Lands and Buildings Committee refused to endorse the deal requested by developer James Vitas that would sell the lot to him without going through R F P process for nine hundred thousand dollars.  Short on details, the developer said he would construct what would effectively be a massive college dorm on the property arguing it would be good for the city as some six thousand students attending local colleges were in need of affordable housing that was better suited to their needs than plain apartments.  The developer’s team argued it was the highest and best use of the land given the growth of colleges in the area.  Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig, though intrigued with the idea, wasn’t sure if it was the highest and best use and said she couldn’t decide that question without an R F P.  Ultimately, her motion to recommend that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen entertain the normal process and issue the request for proposals passed the committee by a 3 to 2 vote.  Committee Chair Ed Osborne, who reminded the developer that they came to the city and asked it to sell, and Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig agreed with Craig.  Alderman at Large Joe Kelly Levasseur and Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw will file a minority report with the board arguing that the city should accept the offer as long as there is a reverter right on the property returning it to the city if they fail to get approvals and permits from the necessary regulatory bodies.  Levasseur was sharply critical of Mayor Ted Gatsas who argued forcefully for the R F P process.  He wanted to know where the desire for process was when he wanted to send the Bedford Street Parking Lot out for bids instead of spending thousands on a consultant to turn it into a garage.  For his part, Gatsas said he’d only had one meeting with the developer two months ago and has had no communication since.  Moreover, he asked what do we really know about this project?  We’ll have more on this during the show.  We’ve posted the developers expression of interest letter dated May 22nd for your review.


News from our own backyard continues after this.


Public Service Company of New Hampshire has issued a statement saying the state could top all time power consumption records this week given the intense heat.  We’ve uploaded a list of suggestions they released to help you stay cool and help them keep the lights on with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.


Ward 12 Alderman Patrick Arnold will make his way to City Hall tomorrow afternoon at one to file his candidacy for mayor, no doubt putting to end speculation that he’d decided against running.  The two term alderman announced in February he’d throw his hat into the ring for the corner office.  In yesterday’s filings, Ward 11 Alderman Normand Gamache picked up a challenger in the name of Curtis Howland and the city’s first official primary race was created when Bill Hughen placed his name on the ballot for school board in Ward 6, so at least the folks over there on the East Side will have one race to vote in.  The rest of us will have to wait and see if we get any choices on the primary ballot.  Yesterday’s filings can easily be found in the two thousand thirteen election news section of our News page at Girard at Large dot com.  We have, of course, linked to it from this news cast.  The filing period ends this Friday.


Yesterday was an historic day in the United States of America and no, it’s not because U S Attorney General Eric Holder further undermined confidence in the justice system by announcing the Justice Department’s investigation into George Zimmerman will continue because of his personal concerns.  Yesterday, Twinkies returned to grocery store shelves across the land.  The sound of fireworks crackling joyfully through the land was actually the sound of Michelle Obama’s and Michael Bloomberg’s heads exploding.  In Manchester, the news was especially welcomed as Twinkies aren’t covered by the school district’s cup cake policy, at least not yet.


That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is just 30 seconds ahead.