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Mayor Joyce Craig Announces Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up

Published: 04/13/2021 10:54 AM

April 24th event hosted in partnership with Manchester School District and Department of Public Works

Mayor Joyce Craig, in conjunction with the Manchester Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Manchester School District, is hosting an Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up on Saturday, April 24th.

Residents are encouraged to clean-up across the city, and DPW will be stationed at four elementary schools from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m:

  • Jewett Street School, 130 S Jewett St, Manchester, NH 03103
  • Northwest Elementary, 300 Youville St, Manchester, NH 03102
  • Smyth Road School, 245 Bruce Rd, Manchester, NH 03104
  • Beech Street School, 333 Beech St, Manchester, NH 03103

Each site will have clean-up materials, including trash bags and gloves, and will serve as a drop-off location for all collected materials.

“This is a great opportunity for folks across Manchester to celebrate Earth Day and give back to our community,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “With the warmer weather, I know we’re all looking forward to spending time outside. We want to make sure we have clean, welcoming neighborhoods, parks and trails for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”

"Our schools are hubs of activity for the neighborhoods they serve, providing not just education, but also food support and areas for outdoor recreation,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Goldhardt. “We are grateful for this opportunity, because it's a reminder to all that each one of us needs to chip in to improve our community." 

Same day sign-ups are welcome, but volunteers, organizations and businesses interested in participating can pre-register for the neighborhood clean-up here

In addition to the city-wide Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up, InTown Manchester is hosting their 20th annual Adopt-a-Block on Thursday, April 22nd starting at the Mill Girl Statue on Commercial Street from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols will be required.

 

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Mayor Joyce Craig Releases Affordable Housing Task Force Recommendations

Published: 04/06/2021 11:11 AM

Report outlines current housing statistics, recommendations

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig released the report of the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Taskforce, which will serve as a guide for Manchester to address the ongoing affordable housing crisis. 

Announced during Mayor Craig’s 2020 State of the City Address, the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Taskforce was the first city housing initiative since the 2008 Affordable Housing Task Force created by then-Mayor Frank Guinta. The Taskforce began its work in the fall of 2020 focused on three key areas: funding and incentives, zoning, regulations and land use, and support services.

‘We began our work with the belief that housing is a fundamental human right,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “I’m thankful to the members of the Affordable Housing Taskforce for their commitment to identifying solutions and outlining a path forward to respond to the challenges associated with affordable housing in Manchester.”

The Taskforce report outlines 14 recommendations from the subcommittees, including updating zoning regulations, streamlining the permitting process for developers, compiling a comprehensive audit of all city-owned properties, and creating a housing-resource portal on the City website.

In addition, the Taskforce also recommends the creation of a Housing Commission to track progress on the report’s recommendations, provide updates to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and connect with the community on housing issues.

In the past decade, rent prices in Manchester for a two-bedroom apartment increased 25%, including a nearly 10% increase from 2020 to 2021. These skyrocketing costs come in conjunction with a shortage of available housing stock, making it difficult for residents to find affordable housing options. 

“Housing affordability challenges have reached a critical level across New Hampshire. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Mayor and a team of individuals who are dedicated to addressing these needs in Manchester. I am hopeful that these recommendations will lead to an increase in the supply of affordable housing in the city,” said Robert Tourigny, Neighborworks, Funding and Incentives Subcommittee Chair.

“Manchester is uniquely positioned with an abundance of organizations dedicated to housing services. The Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force was an opportunity in bringing these groups together in collaborating with finding short-term and long-term deliverable solutions,” said Pat Long, Alderman and State Representative, Support Services Subcommittee Chair.

“The development community can play an important role in trying to resolve the affordable housing issue. The Taskforce was an excellent opportunity to meet with other dedicated community members and hear their concerns. We are grateful to Mayor Craig for taking on this task and allowing us to be involved,” Joe Wichert, Zoning, Regulations & Land Use Subcommittee Chair.

In the report, the Taskforce outlined that housing is a complicated and multifaceted issue that cannot be solved by the City of Manchester alone. In order to provide all residents of New Hampshire with adequate housing, there needs to be a statewide, strategic approach that provides affordable housing options in all communities across the state. 

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Mayor Joyce Craig Presents FY2022 Budget

Published: 03/30/2021 6:23 PM

In the midst of a pandemic, Mayor Craig’s budget includes a $1.843 million surplus

This evening, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig delivered her FY22 budget address. In accordance with the City Charter section 6.15, Mayor Craig’s budget proposal includes a 1.87% tax increase, which equates to an increase in property tax revenues of $4.2 million -- approximately $2.2 million of which is allocated to the City and $2 million is allocated to the Manchester School District.

Mayor Craig’s FY22 budget also includes a surplus on the city side. “We did this by implementing a hiring and spending freeze, holding vacancies and reallocating resources. As a result of sound fiscal management, we currently have a $1.843 million surplus on the city side,” stated Mayor Craig.

However, in FY22 the City is legally obligated to cover a significant increase in pension costs, totaling more than $4 million. To put this into perspective, in FY21 the City allocated an increase of $515,000 for state pension costs and this year, the City is allocating more than 4 times that amount. And for city pensions, the City is allocating an increase of $223,367 in FY21 and this year we’re allocating more than 8 times that amount. If the State were to pay their promised 35% of state retirement costs, Manchester would save approximately $5 million in FY22 alone.

“While the financial impacts of COVID-19 and increased downshifting from the State present new challenges, as a result of solid fiscal management, the budget I presented this evening is balanced, adheres to the tax cap and makes sound strategic investments in our city,” added Mayor Craig.

Mayor Craig’s FY22 budget leverages grant funding to hire 10 additional officers in the Manchester Police Department. It also reinstates all of the Department of Public Works’ seasonal employees, meaning the City will have staff to open the pools, maintain the Derryfield Golf course, run Fun in the Sun, and continue to maintain City parks and cemeteries.

“In a year where residents spent more time enjoying our local green spaces, trails and parks, this budget allocates funds to expand those public spaces and quality of life amenities,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

It includes bonding the construction of the Canal Street Park and History Walk, beginning on the corner of Canal and Granite Streets. In addition, it includes the expansion of the Riverwalk and Heritage Trail, repairs to Livingston Pool, and playground replacement at Simpson, Enright and Pine Island Parks. It also includes $500,000 for deferred maintenance at Valley Cemetery, the first time in decades the City has made a significant investment to this historic location. 

This budget also bonds $4.5 million to address 13.8 miles of roads, along with 30 miles of crack sealing citywide, resulting in 43.8 miles of streets scheduled to receive some type of surface treatment.

On the school side, this FY22 budget covers current programming and staff and invests in building safety in the wake of COVID-19, which will allow us to safely bring our kids back to school.

It also expands the implementation of the new Amplify Reading Program, which supports the District’s newly-adopted curriculum and helps meet our goal of all students reading at grade level by the third grade. This new reading program integrates all the way down to pre-K, the first time the District has had a focused reading program start at that level.

Mayor Craig concluded her budget address by stating, “Manchester is a community with boundless potential. In the last year, we’ve endured challenges some of us never thought possible. But when problems arose, our city got to work. Today, there’s hope of bringing this pandemic under control, thanks in large part to the resiliency of our residents. But, we must remember to remain vigilant and follow safety guidelines. With this budget, we are beginning to rebuild. There’s more work to do, and I know by working together, we can recover from COVID-19 and continue to build a solid foundation for our city.”

Mayor Craig's full FY22 Budget remarks

FY22 Budget Materials

Mayor Joyce Craig Requests Community Input on American Rescue Plan Funds

Published: 03/18/2021 10:36 AM

Residents invited to share stories, ideas on how to spend federal allocation

Recently, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which will bring billions of dollars in much-needed relief to people across the country. 

One aspect of the American Rescue Plan is direct aid to cities and towns, including Manchester. Currently, it’s estimated Manchester will receive approximately $44 million over two years. While the City is still awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury on how exactly the funds can be utilized, Mayor Joyce Craig is asking residents to share stories on how the pandemic has impacted them, and ideas on how they’d like to see the funds used.

“For over a year, our community has felt the widespread negative impacts of COVID-19. This is the first time the City of Manchester is receiving direct funding, and we want to ensure it’s used to best meet the needs of our community,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

Broadly, the funds coming to the City of Manchester can be used for local economic recovery purposes, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, assistance to hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality, premium pay for essential workers and infrastructure investment. 

Anyone wishing to share their pandemic story or ideas on how to best utilize the local funding coming into Manchester can contact the Mayor’s Office or fill out a form HERE.

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Mayor Joyce Craig Applauds Passage of American Rescue Plan

Published: 03/10/2021 5:19 PM

Federal aid will bring millions of dollars into Manchester

In response to Congress passing the American Rescue Plan, Mayor Joyce Craig released the following statement:

“I’m thrilled Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, and it is now headed to the President's desk. This pandemic has brought forward challenges cities and towns can't solve on their own -- and we know economic recovery from COVID-19 begins and ends at the local level. By prioritizing direct payments to residents, relief to restaurants and assistance for rental, mortgage, and utility payments, this plan goes a long way to ensure our community recovers from the pandemic. In addition, this plan brings direct relief to cities and towns, something every New Hampshire mayor and county commissioner supports.

I’d like to thank the Biden Administration, Senator Shaheen, Senator Hassan, Congressman Pappas and Congresswoman Kuster for their advocacy and vote to bring much-needed financial relief to New Hampshire residents.”

The American Rescue Plan includes:

  • Direct $1,400 checks to taxpayers
  • $125 billion for public K-12 schools to safely reopen
  • $7.5 billion in CDC funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
  • $48.3 billion for COVID-19 testing
  • $3.88 billion to increase availability of mental health treatment
  • Extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September 20, 2021
  • $39 billion for child care
  • 21.55 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance
  • $5 billion to help communities provide supportive services and safe, socially-distanced housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness
  • $9.961 billion in funding to provide mortgage and utility assistance to homeowners
  • $28.6 billion in direct relief for the restaurant industry
  • Expands PPP eligibility
  • Waives copays for veterans during the pandemic
  • Extends enhanced unemployment insurance for the 18 million Americans relying on these benefits until September 6, 2021
  • $350 billion to states, territories, tribes and local governments to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency

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City of Manchester, Makin’ It Happen Launch Comprehensive Harm Reduction Strategy

Published: 03/04/2021 11:29 AM

Initial plan is the first of its kind in New Hampshire

Today, Makin’ It Happen (MIH) and the City of Manchester announced the launch of the City’s comprehensive harm reduction strategy for the region. 

Funded by the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief & Recovery with distribution support from Health Strategies of NH/Endowment for Health, this comprehensive harm reduction strategy looks at existing and potential services that can be provided for the community’s most vulnerable populations.  

“Although there is no singular definition, harm reduction is prospective risk reduction efforts through programs, policies, and practices,” stated Brian Mooney, Community of Care Manager, Makin’ It Happen. “Things like sunscreen, seatbelts, speed limits, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing are all forms of harm reduction.”

The harm reduction strategy developed by MIH in partnership with the City outlines strategies designed to serve individuals as well as the larger community, with an overarching goal to move people struggling with a substance use disorder towards treatment and recovery.

“This harm reduction strategy will serve as a guide and strengthen our efforts to build a resilient and sustainable continuum of care model for the city and region,” said Mary Forsythe-Taber, Executive Director, Makin’ It Happen

“To effectively address all facets of substance use disorders, we must employ strategies of prevention at every point on the public health spectrum – primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. A formal harm reduction strategy ensures that our community is addressing risk, taking action to minimize harm and prevent fatal overdoses as a key component of secondary prevention,” added Anna Thomas, Public Health Director, City of Manchester Health Department. “This call to action should challenge all communities to develop their own harm reduction strategies in partnership with their residents and resources. Our collective efforts should not only benefit the individuals we serve, but our full communities as well. In the coming months, the City of Manchester will be launching new initiatives toward this end.”

“I’m grateful for the collaboration between the City of Manchester and Makin’ It Happen to develop the first comprehensive harm reduction strategy in the State of New Hampshire,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Through this comprehensive approach, we are working to improve overall community wellness and save lives.”

In addition to new initiatives, the City, and its partners will continue to practice existing components of harm reduction, including:

  • Connecting people to primary care and mental health services
  • Giving individuals access to Naloxone (Narcan) and training to prevent overdose fatality
  • Offering screening and vaccinations for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Helping people enroll in insurance like Medicaid; giving them access to medical treatment
  • Referrals to substance use disorder treatment and recovery support
  • Public awareness and education to engage, educate and empower the public

The City’s harm reduction strategy can be reviewed at the Makin' It Happen website.

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Mayor Craig, City of Manchester Announce Distribution of Manchester Small Business Resiliency Grants  

Published: 12/02/2020 2:18 PM

MANCHESTER, NH – Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the City of Manchester announced the distribution of the first round of grants through the Manchester Small Business Resiliency Grant Program. First announced on October 1st, this grant initiative was developed to help small businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s critical that we support our small business community through this difficult time. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve distributed the first $30,000 of the Manchester Small Business Resiliency Grant Program to small businesses to use for expenses like online sales upgrades, payroll, utilities and rent,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

Patz Deli LLC, CoCo Beauty Salon, The Smoothie Bus Shoppe, McGill's Inc, Lumiere LLC, and Tidewater Catering Group each received a $5,000 grant. The City allocated $250,000 for the grant program and currently has 36 pending applications in addition to the 6 distributed today.

The City of Manchester has contracted with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Deo Mwano Consultancy for grant administration, marketing and outreach for the program.

Funds are offered through the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Program. Eligible small businesses can receive a grant up to $5,000 to go toward eligible business expenses incurred since March 13, 2020.

Additional grants are available for eligible businesses. For more information, email smallbusinessgrant@manchesternh.gov. Eligible businesses can apply here.

Mayor Craig Releases Final Map for Halloween at City Hall and Downtown Trick-or-Treat

Published: 10/27/2020 1:05 PM

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig has released the final map for the third annual ‘Halloween at City Hall,’ scheduled for Friday, October 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year’s event will also include ‘Downtown Trick-or-Treat,’ with trick-or-treaters encouraged to visit downtown participating businesses for a Halloween treat.

For two hours, students, parents, and children are invited to come downtown and get a free book from the Bookmobile, meet Mayor Craig, and grab Halloween treats from participating downtown businesses. The expected forecast is chilly with potential snowfall, so participants should expect to bundle up.

“Halloween looks a little different this year, I’m excited to offer a fun, new, and safe way for kids to trick-or-treat downtown this year,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “I encourage families to come downtown and support local businesses -- just make sure to dress warm and wear a mask!” 

Halloween at City Hall will take place outside in City Hall Plaza. All participants are asked to adhere to social distancing and to wear a mask. 

Participating organizations include 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, Ben & Jerry’s, Boards & Brews, Bonfire Restaurant & Country Bar, Bookery Manchester, City Hall, Creative Framing Solutions, Congressman Chris Pappas’ Office, Cookson Communications, Diz’s Cafe, Foundry, Framers Market, Granite State Candy Shoppe, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, Republic of Campo, WZID, and the YMCA.

Mayor Joyce Craig Releases Statement on Encampment at Hillsborough North Superior Courthouse

Published: 10/20/2020 12:46 PM

October 20, 2020

(Manchester, NH) -- “Homelessness is a crisis affecting our city, communities throughout our state, and throughout our country. For months, we've watched as unsheltered individuals set up an encampment on state-owned land where the Hillsborough North Superior Courthouse is located. And today, it's estimated that approximately 25 people are living on that state-owned land in Manchester.

The City and our local service providers conduct outreach on a daily basis, and police patrol the area to ensure no illegal activity is occurring. While the City is doing everything it can to keep the area safe, the State has jurisdiction over this property.

In September, the State posted “no camping” signs on the state-owned property, but during a recent call, they did not share any plans to move individuals from the location. Throughout the course of the conversation, the State advised that no one, including unsheltered individuals, would be prevented from being on their property, confirmed there’s no curfew, and made it clear that they were focused on an anti-camping provision, not an anti-loitering provision.

The State cannot move individuals from state-owned land unless they can identify a specific bed for each individual, which is the same situation Manchester and other communities are in. This is why for over three years, the City has been advocating that the State increase the number of emergency shelter beds, supportive housing, and affordable housing options statewide.

The State plays a significant role in ensuring that all communities have the tools and resources they need to prevent and end homelessness. However, the last time the State completed a statewide plan to address homelessness was in 2006. The State is now in the same position that Manchester and many other communities are in, where unsheltered individuals are living on public land, with no other sheltering options available.

Winter is around the corner. And while we're actively preparing for emergency winter sheltering and making fatality prevention plans -- the City of Manchester can't solve this problem alone. We all have a shared responsibility to help our most vulnerable residents, and it's past time for the State to acknowledge their role and take action.”

Manchester City Clerk, Mayor Craig To Host ‘Voting Saturday’ on 10/24

Published: 10/19/2020 11:43 AM

MANCHESTER, NH – On Saturday, October 24, the Manchester City Clerk’s Office, located at City Hall, 1 City Hall Plaza, will be open extended hours from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for ‘Voting Saturday.’ Residents will be able to come in to register to vote, request an absentee ballot or vote absentee in person.

The last day to register to vote at the City Clerk’s office is Wednesday, October 28. However, eligible voters are able to register to vote on Election Day, November 3 at their polling location. Visit the City of Manchester website for more information on how to vote during COVID-19, and where to find your polling location.

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