Rivals team up for parkway

NASHUA – Two frequent political rivals are teaming up to bring a Broad Street Parkway bond resolution to the board.

Alderman-at-Large Fred Teeboom and Ward 4 Alderman Marc Plamondon disagree on many issues, but they’re working in close partnership to bring the parkway to fruition.

Also, the pair has been working with the city engineer and public works director to refine the cost, which they say will require borrowing no more than $37.7 million.

“This is the latest and greatest number that we are coming up with,” Plamondon said.

A study that last year produced a cost estimate on a scaled-down plan for the two-lane, limited-access roadway came in higher, and city officials anticipated the need to bond as much as $44.5 million.

However, an analysis by City Engineer Steve Dookran and Public Works Director Ricky Seymour looked at other factors, such as what Plamondon said was an exaggerated estimate in the study for inflationary increases for engineering work.

Dookran said Friday that he’s preparing a report for the board of aldermen’s infrastructure committee explaining how he and Seymour arrived at the new cost estimate.

After a plan to package the parkway bond with other city projects died, Teeboom announced he would sponsor new legislation for the parkway construction.

Plamondon, meanwhile, has sponsored legislation for a municipal agreement required for the city to take ownership of the project from the state.

Plamondon said he is pleased that he and Teeboom have been able to collaborate.

“We are moving forward on this and trying to come in on a unified front. I’m very happy that Alderman Teeboom and myself have (been) working together on this partnership. This to me has been a success story,” Plamondon said.

Plamondon is chairman and Teeboom vice-chairman of the aldermen’s infrastructure committee.

“We’re making a lot of headway and really getting our arms around this immense project,” Plamondon said.

The resolution is now being reviewed by the city’s legal department and will be presented to the board at its Aug. 12 meeting, he said.

Also on Aug. 12 the board will consider a resolution by Alderman-at-Large Benjamin Clemons to hold a September referendum on whether to build the long-debated, cross-city parkway.

The road would link downtown to Broad Street near the F.E. Everett Turnpike, skirting the Millyard technology area and crossing the Nashua River along the way.

In 1997, residents in a referendum favored building the parkway, though at that time the cost was expected to be paid entirely by federal money and the project was a four-lane road with a medium.

“In my opinion, it would be a true disservice to the voters who took the time to carefully consider the pros and cons of the original parkway referendum to move forward based on that vote with a project that doesn’t even closely resemble what those voters had initially thought they were voting for,” Clemons said in a letter explaining why he feels a new referendum is needed.

“Let me state for the record that I am not generally an advocate of referendums, but in this case it seems fair to say that the people who voted on the original project are not getting what they voted for,” Clemons wrote.

“The board of aldermen chose in 1997 to give the citizens a say on this project; as such, we should stand by that commitment and give citizens a voice on the different plan that sits before us today,” he wrote.

The resolution for the new referendum was approved by a unanimous vote of the personnel and administrative affairs committee.

Ward 8 Alderman Dave MacLaughlin, who chairs the committee, is a co-sponsor of the resolution.

Clemons appeared before the committee to argue for the referendum, MacLaughlin said.

At the committee, Clemons’ resolution was endorsed by MacLaughlin, Ward 9 Alderman Jeffrey Cox, Ward 6 Alderman Paul Chasse, Jr., Alderman-at-Large David Deane, “and significantly, Alderman Plamondon, who is a proponent of building the Broad Street Parkway,” MacLaughlin said.

“If that’s a sign of things to come, we should have six votes going into the meeting of Aug 12 in favor of passing that referendum question,” MacLaughlin said.