By John Toole
---- — LONDONDERRY — The prospect for 10,000 or more jobs brought the governor to town this week.
Gov. Maggie Hassan and the state’s economic development chief came to Londonderry Wednesday for a briefing about the development potential of Pettengill Road.
“It means a great deal,” Town Planner Cynthia May said of the governor’s visit.
The visit came as the town is pursuing $8.2 million in federal transportation aid for Pettengill Road development through an economic recovery program.
Hassan and the state’s entire Congressional delegation are supporting the effort, May said.
A study for the town by Laconia-based Applied Economic Research last year projected 10,000 to 25,000 jobs from a business park development along Pettengill Road.
“Pettengill Road is the most attractive business development opportunity in New Hampshire — there is essentially no competition for its large, flat sites serviced by sewer and water elsewhere in the state,” the study said.
A four-lane road would cost an estimated $12.5 million and open 1,000 acres for development between Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Interstate 93.
The study estimated the project could give the town $7.5 million a year in property taxes.
“Overall, there is no more attractive tax-generating investment Londonderry can make it itself than the Pettengill Road infrastructure,” the study concluded.
Russ Thibeault, president of the firm, describes the area as a great site that will have appeal for some national companies to locate there.
“Nothing is missing other than the road itself,” Thibeault said.
Besides the land, the property is attractive because of its proximity to the highway and airport, as well as within a densely populated area of the state with a ready workforce, he said.
“This is one of the premier undeveloped commercial-industrial sites in northern New England,” Thibeault said.
The area can accommodate light manufacturing, warehouses, technology, offices, lodging and limited retail, he said.
“Developing Pettengill Road is economically viable from the standpoint of both the town and the state,” Thibeault said.
The governor’s office announced the visit as part of her weekly schedule.
Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose was to accompany the governor.
Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission executive director David Preece said Hassan wanted the briefing because she had been hearing so much about the economic potential, as well as the project’s relationship to the airport, I-93 and the Everett Turnpike.
That’s what is key about the project, in May’s view, not just the importance to the town, but the region and state as well.
“The governor and commissioner will both be here to learn not just about Pettengill Road, but economic development in Londonderry as a whole and the connection to state and regional growth,” she said prior to the visit.
The timing is critical.
As the study pointed out last year, construction permits are scheduled to start lapsing next July.
The program was billed as “a discussion on working together for the future economic development and infrastructure in Londonderry.”
Londonderry officials were scheduled to provide a project overview.
Airport officials and state lawmakers from Londonderry were expected to attend.