I can’t believe it’s the final blog post of our 20 Years of Intown Series! It’s been so fun writing these the past 11 months, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them! 2016 has been such a fantastic year for Intown, and we would like to THANK you for your continued support! While I’d love to cover each thing we did in our 20th year, that would be impossible! I hope you enjoy the post below with just some of the highlights from 2016!
- A large part of Intown’s mission for 2016 was to bring and promote more public art to Downtown. In 2014’s post we mentioned the creation of three utility art boxes throughout Downtown through the Studio 550/Intown Manchester initiative, Think Outside the Box. In 2016, following the same program, five more boxes were added to Downtown doubling the amount of color and culture in the District!
- Additionally, we were honored to be one of the sponsors of local artist Vivian Beer’s ‘Random Act of Kindness’ campaign. In 24 hours, Vivian and her team built 17 bike racks, completely by hand, that were then donated to the City of Manchester! The bike racks should be installed this Spring for use throughout the City, but mostly in Downtown!
Lastly, we were so excited to run a pilot street piano program this summer as well! As Katie McQuaid of the Union Leader wrote, “It’s something I wanted to do in Manchester since I saw it up in Littleton,” [our Executive Director Sara] Beaudry said. And suddenly, the stars aligned. Former alderman and mayoral candidate Joyce Craig contacted Intown to say she had a piano to donate. Then Manchester Arts Commissioner Dan Berube added to the effort by having the piano moved to Victory Park. And Manchester High School Central sophomore Lily Soucy…paint[ed] the piano to make it a public work of art as well.” The piano was a much needed piece to the puzzle of revitalizing Victory Park this Summer (more on that below) and we are excited for even more pianos throughout Downtown next Summer! (Image to the right via Manchester Community Market)
- We, of course, have been promoting our anniversary throughout the year as well, through this blog series and by hosting 20 events in Downtown, for our 20th year! It was certainly a busy one, promotion-wise, and one of our best years yet!
2016 was also a turning point for Downtown Development!
- 875 Elm Street was redeveloped into 91 luxury apartments and a new restaurant (BRGR Bar)!
- While outside of the Intown District, Elm Grove Companies redeveloped the old Farnum Center into micro-living flats and a new cafe!
- At 67 Central Street, a proposal for a 145 room Residence Inn Marriot has been submitted by Anagnost Companies.
- At the Bedford Street Lot, a proposal for a 106 room Tru by Hilton hotel has been submitted by developer Peter Flotz.
- In the Spring of 2016, a community organization, Manchester Connects, was formed. Urban Planning Firm, “CivicMoxie recently kicked off a project in Manchester, New Hampshire to develop a Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Plan for the Downtown, Millyard, and riverfront area—now dubbed ManchesterConnects! That’s a very technical way of saying we are looking at creating a vibrant, connected core to the city that celebrates the its history while establishing the area as a key place to live, work and play. Hired by the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC), CivicMoxie will address the interests and concerns of the businesses and residents in this vibrant area—formerly one of the biggest mill towns in the US—especially those of younger professionals drawn there by high-tech jobs and the great quality of life the region offers. The plan is all about connectivity – seeking ways to help people move through and to the area on foot, by bike, car, bus and train. We’ll also be looking at parking and how to connect the events, programs, and vibrant activities around the city to this core area. We’re working with Nelson\Nygaard, Karl F. Seidman Consulting, and experiential design and branding firm Jeff Sprague Studio on the plan…stay tuned for more!” Join the Manchester Connects Facebook group to be a part!
It’s no secret that Victory Park needed an upgrade for quite some time. This year, the newly created Manchester Community Farmers Market, moved its market directly into the park! Addtionally, “Earlier this year, the city dedicated $180,000 to park improvements. [In September,] workers planted dozens of perennials around the monument and the nearby amphitheater-like seating. Workers have painted the seating and power-washed the monuments. In the future, the city plans to repair sidewalks, lower the lightposts and replace nap-enticing park benches with single-seat benches.” These new improvements have vastly improved the park and we are so excited for Spring to see all the improvements come to fruition!
In conjunction with the Manchester Community Market Intown was proud to bring back our FREE yoga and fitness series in Victory Park on Thursdays in July and August! Classes were taught by: The Training Station, White Swan Yoga Studio and YogaBalance Yoga Studio!