2019 – A Pivotal Year for Claremont
As 2019 draws to an end, we may find ourselves reflecting
upon the year. For the City of Claremont,
2019 was a pivotal year. Increased
funding and economic incentives brought new development, increased city
valuation and a lower tax rate. Individuals
received state recognition for their achievements, and private donations
strengthened our community. While
this is not a comprehensive list, the following are some highlights of the
State Budget Provides Significant Funding – As a result of
the state budget negotiated by the Governor and Legislature in September,
Claremont received over $6.2M in additional funding for the 2019/2020 biennium
for unrestricted municipal aid and education funding. On the municipal side, this will enable the City to address
long deferred capital improvement projects that will reduce operational costs
and foster economic growth. On the
school district side, the funding will provide tax relief and the resources
needed to develop educational programming that addresses student needs and
creates new revenue streams. In
addition, the budget included reimbursement for three completed wastewater
treatment projects, favorably impacting sewer rates, and funding to address
childhood lead poisoning.
New Development in the City Center – After standing vacant
for decades, the former National Bank (next to City Hall) is now undergoing a
complete renovation and will soon become the home of the West Claremont Center
for Music and the Arts. The
Claremont Dental Initiative will be expanding to include the upper level of the
Farewell Block, increasing its capacity to bring needed dental services to the
community. The renovation of
the previously condemned Goddard Block, representing an investment of over
$11M, is almost complete and will bring 36 new apartments and updated
commercial space to the historic district. The multi-year, multi-million Main Street Project was
officially completed providing new water and sewer infrastructure beneath a
completely rebuilt road, new sidewalks, and expanded parking. Four new businesses and one new gallery
opened their doors, expanding offerings in the City’s Center.
Business Expansion/Renovations along Charlestown Road –
Activity along Charlestown Road, one of the City’s main arteries, continues to
increase. McGee Toyota broke
ground for its new, state-of-the-art building, increasing capacity to serve customers
in the region. Stealth Performance
Products is an incoming business, and Collision Pro updated its building.
Washington Street Development – Claremont’s busiest
corridor, Washington Street continues to see commercial growth. Keady Family Practice relocated and
expanded its healthcare services.
O’Reilly expanded and renovated its store. A new barber shop opened, and Kentucky Fried Chicken
upgraded their restaurant.
Solar Array Installation – While construction will not start
until 2022, the City Council granted permission in October for Northern Light
Energy to install a 10MW solar array on two vacant, city-owned parcels zoned
for industrial use. This will be
the largest of two solar arrays on City-owned property, further promoting the
generation of renewable energy and creating a new revenue stream for the
Lower Tax Rate – The tax rate decreased nearly $2.00 from
$42.08 to $40.26. This reduction
is attributed to two primary factors. First, after completing the 2019 revaluation, the city’s
valuation (not including utilities) increased approximately $20M. Second, citizens voted to allocate half
of the State’s additional education funding for 2019 for tax relief.
Individuals Receive State Recognition – Several individuals received
state recognition in 2019. Victor
St. Pierre, Director of the Department of Public Works, received a Meritorious
Achievement Award from the NH Waterworks Association. Tom Belaire, Captain at the Claremont Fire Department, was
named NH Small-School Coach of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches.
Private Donations – The Claremont community is strengthened
by a network of people, businesses and organizations willing to provide
resources when needed. A donation
of $20K and $15K from the Helen Cormier Estate and Mascoma Bank Foundation respectively enabled the City to install air conditioning at
the Fiske Free Library. For the
third year in a row, McGee Toyota donated $8,000 towards the City’s July 4th
fireworks display. Ford of
Claremont donated a 2020 Ford Interceptor, valued at $38,000, to the Claremont
Police Department. People
throughout the community participated in multiple fundraisers in support of
Nymen and his family, a local boy who needed and eventually received a kidney
As we enter the New Year, it is a much different landscape
than when we began 2019. Vacated
buildings are being transformed, offering new housing and economic
opportunities. Businesses are
expanding their operations.
Claremont’s valuation is higher and the tax rate lower. Citizens, businesses and organizations
are investing in Claremont, and it is that investment that brings opportunity
and vibrancy. Continuing this momentum will be the focus of 2020.
Charlene Lovett is the Mayor of Claremont and welcomes your feedback. Please email questions, comments or concerns to her at email@example.com.
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