, Derry, New Hampshire


June 5, 2014

EDITORIAL: 'Downtown, everything's waiting for you'

You can almost hear the echo of Petula Clark on Broadway these days.

While not exactly exploding with growth or reeling off announcements of new business like Londonderry, there’s a real change underway in downtown Derry.

Don’t applaud the Town Council just yet. While they thoughtfully consider whether relaxing downtown building height restrictions is a good idea, others have stepped up to the plate.

Credit Brad Benson and his family for a move that will make a difference. Benson, a former Town Council chairman, has offered to, once again, host the Derry Farmers Market smack dab in the middle of downtown.

It’s a win-win-win. The market has suffered in recent years. That’s not about the town pulling its financing — it should have — but the move from the very spot it will return to hurt — a lot.

The market floundered in the municipal center lot. Pavement isn’t conducive to lingering on hot summer afternoons and the location was just too far away from the street for many to notice.

A successful farmers market needs visibility, fresh produce and crowds. The market was heading that way when it moved off the radar.

There’s every reason to believe it can succeed when it opens later this month. The former gas station the market once wound its way around is gone, giving vendors and shoppers some extra elbow room.

The Derry Garden Club, an organization also deserving applause for its efforts to make downtown more inviting, does a great job with the pocket park there.

Benson wants the market to flourish again. Of course, it may draw some customers to his nearby business, but that’s hardly an impetus for such an offer.

Rather, Benson and his brothers believe the market belongs downtown.

“We thought we could help,” he said.

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