Derry Town Council reviews goal progress

JULIE HUSS/Staff photoThe Derry trail system at Hood Pond is on the Town Council's list of goals for the upcoming year. Work in the area is moving forward, connecting that segment of the trail to North High Street.

DERRY — The downtown and a nearby park are still key issues town councilors hope to keep on a priority list when discussing goals.

Town Administrator David Caron gave an update on the Town Council's list of goals at a meeting on Jan. 5.

And two big items continue to be the downtown and Hood Park.

Downtown revitalization has been on the town's books for decades. The downtown has had major improvements in past years including more efficient LED lighting installed downtown to help save money on energy. New trees were planted. New solar-powered pedestrian beacon crosswalks were put in place and the town also has a facade improvement program to support local businesses wanting to do improvements to their space.

A town-owned downtown parcel known as the Abbott Court property remains a goal to someday put projects in place to utilize that property as a key downtown space for business and additional parking.

Hood Park revitalization, Caron said, is moving forward with a data-gathering phase in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire underway and information to be presented to councilors later this month.

Hood was a popular summer swimming spot for many years, with youth swimming lessons taking place every summer. But due to the lack of lifeguard interest and often poor pond water quality, that program faded over the years.

The park still offers basketball, tennis, picnic tables, playground, fishing, biking and trails. But the park, named to honor the prominent Hood family of Derry, has fallen on quieter times.

A segment of the Derry trail system near Hood Park also is moving forward, Caron said, with a goal of completing that segment to connect to North High Street "to the maximum extent possible." 

Caron said other projects remain on the goals list including moving forward on seven collective bargaining agreements that expire June 1 of this year. Caron said meetings are scheduled in the next several weeks to continue with the union work.

Also, continuing to consider projects for the area south of town in the new West Running Brook zoning district remains on the list, Caron said, with several large projects already being proposed for big tracts of land in that area.

A possible goal continues to be the modernization of public safety facilities in town, and to study ways to make that happen while remaining within the town's tax cap according to the town charter.

Caron said long-term goals remain on the list including revisiting a senior center; studying conservation lands and creating more opportunities for recreation and land use; encouraging more solar use in town, and working with the town's state delegation on supporting solar initiatives and legislation at the state level, and potential body cameras for members of the Derry Police Department.

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