By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — A group of downtown supporters still hopes to give a major boost to Broadway and beyond.
The Downtown Committee met last week to continue its quest to bring visibility, parking and marketing success to the downtown area.
That includes keeping a strong handle on future projects like a plan to turn the Abbott Court area into additional parking. They also hope to make that area behind Broadway a hub to serve pedestrians and retailers — and attract new business.
Committee members also are looking at the downtown’s zoning ordinance. Members formed a subcommittee to review what is allowed and what’s not a good fit for the downtown, a general “cleaning up” of the document.
“What are things we should change?” Planning Director George Sioras asked.
He said there are probably things listed in the current ordinance that are outdated.
“There are things in there that are 40 years old that don’t need to be in there anymore,” he said.
An updated ordinance could put height restrictions on new buildings and address buffer zones between properties.
Sioras said there are good things happening in the downtown and all over Derry that should be noticed.
Nearby plans for new development and retail stretch up Crystal Avenue and into the Manchester Road corridor, where the road widening project is wrapping up.
“It’s very exciting,” Sioras said. “There are opportunities for those who want to invest.”
Parking remains a top issue.
Committee Chairman Gordon Graham said it’s time to think outside the box.
That includes thinking of ways to market the downtown and collaborate with other groups including the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the local rail trail group.
Another point of interest is the future of the Derry Opera House and what can be done to bring in more revenue at that town-owned building.
Graham said it’s the downtown’s group mission to continue to keep Broadway and surrounding areas in the news, and keep new projects and development ideas on the table.
“That’s the purpose of our committee, our existence,” Graham said.
The Downtown Committee will meet again in January.