Chuck Allen, president of Arrowhead Recreation Club, speaks about the importance of Arrowhead Recreation Area to the Claremont economy. Behind Allen, left to right: Gov. Chris Sununu, state senator Ruth Ward, state representative Gary Merchant, Claremont mayor Charlene Lovett, and state representative Walter Stapleton (Eric Zengota photo).
By Eric Zengota and Phyllis A. Muzeroll
CLAREMONT, NH—Three State-funded projects that would benefit the City of Claremont are in danger of disappearing. The governor’s budget, which included funding through the use of surplus State money in House Bill 2, earmarked money for energy-efficient upgrades at Arrowhead Lodge ($100,000) and the Visitor Center ($30,000), as well as sidewalk and drainage repairs ($120,000).
But the Finance Committee removed them from the bill. Now, the only way to get them back in the budget is via a floor amendment sponsored by a State Representative. If passed by House vote, the measure would move to the Senate for approval. According to Claremont Representative John Cloutier, who wrote in his weekly e-Ticker News column this week, “…most of these projects were removed from House Bill 2 by the Finance Committee because many of the projects either should have been put in the capital budget, or would benefit only a few specific municipalities. While I agree that the three-listed projects are worthwhile, I can understand the Finance committee’s reason for removing them from House Bill 2. Instead, I believe that they could be authorized and paid for through other legislation we in the House and Senate will consider in the next few months.”
In an April 8 press conference held at Arrowhead Lodge, Gov. Chris Sununu summed up the procedure with his “big message.” Noting that New Hampshire has the largest legislative body in the country, he added, “the power of the State derives from the individual. Contact your representatives and senators. Advocate for the initiatives that your community needs.”
Sununu had opened his remarks by expressing support for strategic investments in local governments. These are especially vital for communities like Claremont that require costly infrastructure improvements but lack the tax-based revenue to carry them out.
Department heads in Claremont were asked by the mayor to come up with two to three project proposals that they wanted to see funded. Mark Brislin, Director of Claremont Parks & Recreation, the department under which the Arrowhead Recreation Area falls, included the energy upgrades for the lodge as one of his proposals. Communities around the state were encouraged to submit project proposals to the state.
In their remarks, Claremont mayor Charlene Lovett and Arrowhead Recreation Club president Chuck Allen described the value of Arrowhead to the City. The year-round activities — skiing, tubing, cardboard sled race, Reach the Peak — draw many residents and out-of-towners to the City and boost its economy. The Club operates independently on City property managed by the Parks and Recreation Department. The lodge needs capital improvements. Its original 1960s-era windows, roof and heating system are energy inefficient, costing the City thousands of extra dollars in utility bills.
Residents are encouraged to contact their legislators about floor amendments for the projects. A list of Claremont legislators may be found on page A5 in the weekly issue of the e-Ticker News.
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