DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

May 8, 2014

Editorial: Keep the faith, downtown

Hope is blossoming in downtown Derry. The lights are slowly returning to Broadway.

As sprawl sent shoppers to plazas and big-box stores and away from downtown, more storefronts emptied and remained forlorn — in some cases, derelict — reminders of what once was.

But there’s hope, hope in the form of some brand-new businesses and the relative health of downtown stalwarts.

Head downtown for flowers, jewelry, music, a haircut, grain, hardware, coffee, a drink and more.

Thanks to the Derry Rail Trail Alliance, a walk downtown can be a pleasurable experience.

That’s just one of many projects that has restored faith that the downtown can — and will — live again.

The Drinkery Derry will soon open down the street from The Cask and Vine, both owned by a couple who believe in downtown.

The Adams Memorial Building, a true downtown gem, will get some much-needed repairs within The Derry Opera House this summer, reopening the balcony for seating.

There’s plenty of parking, despite what some may claim. Seventy-two on-street spaces and six municipal lots offer room for more than 420 cars.

Drae, a tapas restaurant, and The Grind Rail Trail Cafe opened recently.

Longtime business like Gem Jewelers, Benson’s Hardware, MaryAnn’s, Derry Feed and Supply have kept the lights on.

Downtown business owners seem to have a new attitude, one of support, cooperation and, perhaps above all, enthusiasm.

There’s a lot to like about downtown Derry, but there’s still plenty of room for growth.

That’s why the Town Council needs to stop its collective hand-wringing, shred those dusty flip-charts with pie-in-the-sky ideas, and invest in the future.

Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau, who must be tiring of his “acting” role after nearly a year, recently told the council it was time to try, try again. He acknowledged some economic development failures in the past, but correctly said that doesn’t mean it’s time to give in.

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