Rich Girard on Hidden Agendas and Grant Money

Listen to Rich Girard’s on-air read about how federal grants are being slipped in under the noses of local officials in Manchester and other towns.

Listen here..

“The Southern New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission will hold a public workshop on a proposed Corridor Access and Mixed Use Zoning Overlay Project for Second Street on Manchester’s West Side. It will be held tonight from six to eight at St. Raphael Parish on Walker Street in Granite Square. Planners say “the purpose of this project is to develop access management strategies and a mixed use overlay zoning district for Second Street between the Manchester Bedford town line and Granite Street at Exit 5. In conjunction with this project, Southern New Hampshire Planning will be conducting a Health Impact Assessment on the goals and proposed zoning and access management strategies developed for Second Street to ensure health and health inequities are considered in the decision making.” Frankly, given what Pinardville just went through, we have our doubts about what’s being done here, doubts that were turned into concerns after speaking with Manchester Planning Director Leon LaFreniere, the regional planning commission’s executive director David Preece and Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo. LaFreniere said his department pursued the grant at Greazzo’s request. Greazzo said Pam Gaucher from the Planning Department made him aware of quote “a state grant to help with traffic and businesses on Second Street” and asked him to support it. Preece admitted the grant comes from the same federal sustainability program that just tortured Pinardville and denied there was any proposal for a mixed use zoning overlay district, despite it being in the headline of his press release and all over the Web site referenced in that release, a Web site he claimed no knowledge of. Folks, it just gets better from there. We’ve linked to the release and will have something to say about this this morning.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority announced another round of grant awards using these federal HUD sustainability funds. Communities in our listening area with something to worry about include: Amherst, Milford, Litchfield, Deerfield, Bow and Bedford. We’ve posted the awards with the grant summaries with this newscast. Lots of communities about to unwittingly surrender themselves to HUD’s vision for their future.”