Queen City Bike Collective, Café La Reine and Bookery Manchester To Host Events Downtown
Today, the Office of Mayor Joyce Craig has announced they are co-hosting the inaugural Manchester Park(ing) Day Celebration with Queen City Bike Collective, Café La Reine, and Bookery Manchester on Friday, September 17.
Park(ing) Day is an art project where cities, for one day, turn parking spaces into community spaces for art, play, and activism. The event began in 2005 when three friends turned a San Francisco parking space into a pocket park. In the years since, the event has expanded all over the world, and aims to start a dialogue about how best to use public space in cities.
“It’s always exciting to have unique events in our downtown,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Outdoor dining has been great for our community and the atmosphere on Elm Street, and I love to see that idea being taken a step further. I’m looking forward to stopping by all of the installations this Friday.”
Manchester’s celebration will take place in three downtown parking spaces. The main event will be a bike-friendly pop-up hosted by Queen City Bike Collective, a local bike advocacy non-profit. It will take place in the outdoor dining area of Campo Enoteca (696 Elm Street) from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Queen City Bike Collective volunteers will be offering bike parking and passing out information throughout the afternoon and evening.
"We are really excited to have a chance to do this pop-up event in the heart of downtown,” said Abby Easterly, Executive Director of Queen City Bike Collective. “We look forward to talking to people who may not yet be familiar with everything we are hoping to do to make Manchester a safer, more affordable place to ride a bike."
Café La Reine and Bookery Manchester will be participating by adding interactive features to their outdoor dining spaces. Café La Reine (915 Elm Street) will host morning chess from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, and Bookery Manchester (844 Elm Street) will have hopscotch from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. All three events are completely free and open to the public.
“The Bookery is excited to participate in the first Park(ing) Day in Manchester. This is a great opportunity for more residents and visitors to see all our downtown community has to offer,” said Liz Hitchcock, Owner of Bookery Manchester.
“We are excited to welcome everyone downtown to our patio at Café La Reine for some coffee, great food, and chess,” said Alexandra Horton, Owner of Café La Reine.
Sign up for the Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/2taD2ynlD
Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced that her office, located at City Hall (3rd Floor), 1 City Hall Plaza, is a drop-off location for the Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge.
Founded in 2017 by Dr. Laura Landerman-Garber, the goal of Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is delivering personalized, signed expressions of respect, caring and gratitude to deployed U.S. troops.
“Participating in Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is an easy and impactful way to recognize our service members and let them know they’re not alone during the winter holiday season,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “I’m proud our office is acting as a drop-off location this year, and I encourage everyone to participate in this program, and drop off any cards at our office by October 31.”
Individuals making cards are asked to follow the following guidelines:
- Use a greeting card or a piece of paper (no larger than 8.5 x 11) folded in half.
- Start the card with “Dear Warrior”
- Write a personal note about yourself and your community. Share how you celebrate the holidays, a favorite holiday memory, or draw a holiday scene! Feel free to be serious, funny, or both. Please remember to use appropriate and respectful language, and that our troops are diverse in their holiday practices and beliefs.
- Sign your first name ONLY, along with your city or town, and your state. Include your school, business, or community group if you desire.
- Envelopes are not necessary. If you do include an envelope, please do NOT seal it. If you want to, you can write “Warrior” on the outside, and decorate the envelope.
The 2021 deadline is October 31, 2021. Cards submitted after the deadline will be used for later mailings.
You can drop off completed cards at the Office of Mayor Joyce Craig, located on the 3rd floor of City Hall at 1 City Hall Plaza, Manchester, New Hampshire, 03101. Cards can also be addressed as “Holiday Card Challenge” and sent to the following addresses: PO Box 103, Hollis, New Hampshire, 03049.
If using FedEx or UPS, please send to: Suite 407, 400 Amherst Street, Nashua, New Hampshire, 03063.
For more information, please visit the Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge website.
Director will lead the City's economic development initiatives
Today, The City of Manchester announced it is seeking to hire a Director of Economic Development.
“This is something our community and business leaders have been asking for,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “The Economic Development Director will oversee Manchester’s overall economic development by not only supporting our existing business community, but by working to bring more employers into the City, and bolstering our community’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Economic Development Director will work with City departments and officials, the business community, and local stakeholders to create and implement Manchester’s economic development strategy, as well as lead state, federal and private grant writing initiatives in order to leverage additional economic development funding.
Earlier this year, the Greater Manchester Chamber and 28 business leaders wrote a letter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen advocating for the re-establishment of a Manchester Economic Development Office, calling it a critical priority.
This position, along with a dedicated Business Liaison, was funded through federal American Rescue Plan funds. The proposal for this position was presented by Mayor Craig and approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in July.
The position salary ranges from $72,061.70 to $102,742.87 (commensurate with experience) plus a comprehensive benefits package.
For more information, or to apply, visit the City of Manchester website.
School Committee eliminates bus ticket requirements for high schoolers
Last night, the Manchester Board of School Committee voted to allow any Manchester public high school student to ride a school bus to school, free of charge.
New Hampshire State Law does not require school districts to provide free transportation to high school students, and previously, students were charged $8.50 a week to ride a school bus to high school. Grade K-8 students are already provided school bus transportation free of charge.
This move follows an initiative announced in 2019 by Mayor Joyce Craig in partnership with Manchester Transit Authority to allow Manchester School District students to ride City buses for free.
"We continue to remove barriers to education for Manchester public school students. We saw a 15 percent increase in youth ridership on MTA buses after allowing them to ride for free, and with this move, we're ensuring cost is not a factor in a student's ability to attend high school," said Mayor Joyce Craig.
“Not only is this move good for our kids, but the district could actually see a cost savings from eliminating the bus ticket requirement,” said MTA Director Mike Whitten, who manages the district's school buses. “By streamlining pickup and no longer requiring drivers to punch bus tickets, we’re hoping to add additional stops to routes and reduce the total number of school buses on the roads.”
High school students may now ride Manchester Transit Authority and School District buses by showing their high school identification card. There is no fee for either service. This initiative takes effect immediately.
Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced that starting tomorrow, Friday, August 20, all online processing fees will be waived for residents for the next year, including services offered by the Tax Collector and City Clerk’s Offices.
“As we head into the fall and winter months, we know we may see rates of COVID-19 increase. By waiving online service fees, we’re hoping more residents who may be nervous about the rise in COVID cases take advantage of the convenience of engaging in city services online, rather than coming into City Hall in-person,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.
All online payments are included in the fee waiver, including vehicle registrations, taxes, parking tickets and marriage certificates.
The funding to waive city online service fees was made possible by Mayor Craig’s American Rescue Plan proposal, which was approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen earlier this year.
About Manchester’s American Rescue Plan Proposal
On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved Mayor Craig’s proposal for American Rescue Plan funding through 2026.
View the full proposal: https://bit.ly/2TyRnm4
Planning Board vote follows two years of research, community participation
On Thursday, August 5th, the City of Manchester’s final draft of the updated Master Plan was adopted by the Planning Board. The new Master Plan will serve as the foundation for determining effective public policy and land use decisions made by elected officials in the city, including the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Master Plan was updated following a two year process by the Planning and Community Development Department and Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative LLC, using input from thousands of Manchester residents, families, students, and business owners.
The comprehensive strategic plan provides a framework for Manchester’s future by:
- Celebrating a distinct brand and sense of place that is uniquely Manchester
- Promoting infill development and redevelopment activities for underutilized areas
- Maintaining on-going, positive, and productive partnerships with public and private entities
- Supporting safe, innovative, and efficient transportation systems to enhance street connectivity and resident mobility via walking, biking, driving, and public transit
- Promoting a healthy, welcoming, and inclusive city for both long-term residents and newcomers
- Promoting and preserving Manchester’s green infrastructure - including wetlands, woodlands, parks, tree canopies, etc.
- Keeping the Manchester economy sustainable and resilient while providing opportunities for a variety of new and innovative businesses, and more
“This Master Plan represents the community’s vision for Manchester’s future, and now it is up to us to bring it to life. I look forward to working with our city’s elected leaders, department heads, and community partners to make this plan a reality,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.
“The plan grew from the understanding that Manchester is a desirable place to live, work, and play,” said Jodie Nazaka, Senior Planner and Staff Lead for the Master Plan update. “Manchester has a population of residents who care deeply about the place they have chosen to call home. Because of this devotion, residents turned out and shared with us their vision for a future Manchester. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this vision.”
Read the new Master Plan for the City of Manchester here.
Local leaders praise new micromobility option
Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced The City of Manchester is partnering with the Los Angeles, California-based, shared electric scooter company, Bird Rides, to bring e-scooters to the city. The scooters are available through a mobile phone application and riders pay to use the scooter per minute, at no cost to the city.
“This is an exciting opportunity here in the City,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “We heard from a lot of businesses, who were looking for micromobility options for their employees to easily travel from the Millyard to downtown. I’m thrilled Bird is now here in Manchester, giving residents a new, fun way to travel around our City.”
The company plans on offering scooters to residents and visitors in order to help reduce carbon emissions, as well as traffic congestion on roadways. The scooters also provide a safe way to get around and offer residents without cars another transportation option.
“The young professional community in Manchester could not be more excited to have Bird Rides coming to the city. Many of us really believe these scooters will make the downtown community more accessible and commuter friendly,” said Holly Blanchard, Co-Chair, Manchester Young Professionals (MYP) Advisory Council. “We discussed Bird coming to Manchester at a recent MYP Advisory Council meeting and the overwhelming enthusiasm from council members was clear – it’s game changing. To not have to worry about parking and be able to get around the city more quickly and efficiently is something the YP community has been waiting for. I’m thrilled for this opportunity to be presented to the Manchester community and look forward to seeing tourists take advantage of the many great things this city has to offer.”
"It's great to see Manchester taking steps to support commercial activity and a vibrant downtown. As a company with 70+ employees moving from Elm St to the Millyard later this year, we know it's important to keep professionals coming to work in this city and visiting our shops and cafes -- after all, the empty downtown we all experienced last spring isn't good for anyone. We've already had a few employees buy a bike helmet this week to keep at the office for quick trips around town, and we encourage folks to be safe and responsible whether on bike, foot, car, or scooter,” stated Mike Collins, CEO and Founder, Alumni Ventures.
“This is a great opportunity for downtown, having last mile transportation options come into our city is a game changer for mobility between Elm Street and the Millyard. With Bird, we'll be able to make those connections much easier. Huge thanks to the Mayor and Aldermen for approving this program,” said Liz Hitchcock, Owner, Bookery Manchester.
“As a resident and someone trying to grow a business in Manchester, it is very exciting to see the city take this forward-thinking action to support downtown businesses, residents and visitors. For many people this type of service becomes a litmus test -- as it was with Uber and Lyft. If you don’t have these amenities, you aren’t a place they will choose to stay, work and play,” added Gray Chynoweth, CEO, Minim.
The electric scooters can be used on roads and in bike lanes and have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. Scooters must be parked out of the way of pedestrians and never blocking sidewalks. Riders are required to be at least 18 years-old to access the scooters. They are also encouraged to wear a helmet on every ride and are required to obey all standard rules of the road.
Bird offers the following programs that are available for all who qualify:
- Community Pricing: Bird’s Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens. It’s designed to be the most inclusive micromobility discount program available anywhere. To sign up for the Community Pricing Program, download the Bird app, create an account, and email your proof of eligibility to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Free Rides for Healthcare Workers and Emergency Personnel: Bird is proud to offer free rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. To sign up, simply email a copy of your medical identification card along with your name and phone number to email@example.com. Eligible riders will receive two free 30-minute rides per day for as long as it takes to help our communities to recover from this global health crisis.
- Community Mode: Community Mode allows anyone with a Bird account to report or provide feedback on scooter-related issues such as poorly parked or damaged scooters in their area. When a report is submitted, a member of the Bird team is assigned to correct the issue. Anyone can access Community Mode by tapping the yield sign on the bottom left of the Bird map.
If a resident has questions or concerns about the e-scooters the company can be reached directly at 1-866-205-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the company can be found on their website and on their blog.
Last night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to initially approve American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund recommendations brought forth by Mayor Joyce Craig.
“I’m thrilled the Board of Aldermen voted to move our American Rescue Plan proposal forward. These federal funds provide a unique opportunity to help our city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger economy,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “These programs will have a significant impact on our community; helping residents address health and safety in our neighborhoods, supporting small businesses, increasing affordable housing, and adding workforce development and college education initiatives. This is a really exciting time for our city.”
The majority of the programs and positions are funded through December 2026. Throughout the five years of funding, the City will collect data and measure program effectiveness to ensure this funding not only addresses the negative impacts COVID-19, but helps shape a strong and equitable recovery for the City of Manchester.
Mayor Craig’s recommendations will be discussed in the Finance Committee of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and will then be brought forward for a final vote. In response to the Aldermen’s initial approval, Manchester community leaders shared their support for the proposal.
“We are pleased to see forward progress and collaboration with the Board of Aldermen on their preliminary approval of the ARPA funds for the City of Manchester,” said Paul LeBlanc, President and CEO, Southern New Hampshire University. “Manchester residents overwhelmingly cited education as one of the areas to which they would like to see ARPA funds allocated, and we look forward to working with Mayor Craig and the Board to help expand access to higher education for public school students in Manchester and to support local workforce needs.”
“The Greater Manchester Chamber, along with many community business leaders, support the proposed ARPA spending plan and the investments that will generate and support job growth, stimulate economic activity and expansion, and strengthen the City’s ability to attract and retain its workforce,” said Greater Manchester Chamber CEO Mike Skelton. “By taking a long-term, investment-minded approach to deploying ARP funding, the City of Manchester can help ensure not only a quick recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic but also that strategic opportunities to enhance the long-term economic vitality of the community are realized and achieved.”
“Amoskeag Health appreciates the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our city’s residents, especially its children and youth, by moving this proposal forward,” said Lara Quiroga, Director of Community-Integrated Health and Wellbeing at Amoskeag Health. “The Newborn Home Visit Program and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team will help to connect children and their families to community resources to mitigate risk for child abuse and neglect and help families thrive. We look forward to continuing to work together on programming that could have a positive impact now and in generations to come.”
Since March of 2020, Mayor Joyce Craig has been a vocal and influential proponent of direct federal funding to municipalities, repeatedly advocating with the New Hampshire federal delegation, national organizations, and even to former President Trump prior to one of his visits to Manchester.
See the full list of ARPA recommendations, here: https://bit.ly/2TyRnm4
The City of Manchester is ranked in the top 20 of WalletHub’s Best-Run Cities in America report. Coming in at #14 out of 150, Manchester ranked above many other New England cities.
“This year has been a true test of the effectiveness of local leadership, as city leaders have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including enforcing restrictions and helping to facilitate the distribution of the vaccine,” stated the WalletHub report.
Added Mayor Joyce Craig, “By making sound financial decisions, continuing to provide services and making decisions that put the health and well-being of our residents first, Manchester emerged from the pandemic in a strong position. This was validated by an independent audit performed by Melanson. In addition, we’re about to end our fiscal year with a $2.9 million surplus.
Since April 2020, Manchester has seen more than $80 million in new construction and just announced the first new airline in 17 years at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. We have more work to do, but thanks to the commitment of our department heads and city employees, I know we’re setting our city up for success.”
Utilizing Federal HOME funds, proposal represents a $3.7 million increase over original budget
Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Department of Planning and Community Development announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $4,700,000 to develop new affordable housing units in the City of Manchester. These funds were made available through the federal HOME program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is a $3.7 million increase in funding for affordable housing projects from the $1,037,611 originally allocated in the Mayor’s FY22 budget. This investment represents the most funding the City has allocated toward the development of affordable housing since the HOME program’s creation over 30 years ago.
“Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Manchester residents. This significant investment puts people first while at the same time addresses the critical need in our community,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “These funds will allow us to focus on a ‘Housing First’ model to address homelessness, and make sure families, seniors on a fixed income and those with disabilities have access to safe, affordable housing that meets their needs.”
Projects utilizing these funds will provide housing for individuals/families making between 30% and 80% of the Area Median Family Income, defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and require that these individuals not pay more than 30% of their annual income on total housing costs. The funds may be used for the development of new affordable units or rehabilitation of existing units. In addition, proposals are encouraged, but not required, to include commercial space, market-rate residential units, public green space, and public art.
All requests will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of the Director of the Planning and Community Development Department, the Director of Homeless Initiatives, and a representative from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen CIP Committee, who will then make recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval.
Proposals are due by 3:00 P.M. on July 16th, 2021, and must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Community Development in City Hall.
Download the full RFP