Town manager wants Obama's help

MERRIMACK – It might be wishful thinking, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Town Manager Keith Hickey told the town council Thursday that he had written to the New Hampshire Municipal Association requesting almost $35 million of the $800 billion federal economic stimulus package that is being put together by President-elect Barack Obama’s administration.

Hickey’s letter outlines 16 projects on the town’s 200-9/10 capital improvement plan worth $34.7 million.

It’s not clear what role the municipal association is playing in the process. Calls to the association weren’t immediately returned Friday.

The money, if it eventually makes it into town coffers, would be in addition to the $230 million the state Department of Transportation requested last month for 27 road and bridge projects and $300 million for a Nashua-Manchester commuter rail line.

Councilor Tim Tenhave said asking for the money is a good idea, but he isn’t exactly holding his breath. “I have a feeling it’s a long shot at best,” Tenhave said. “I have a feeling that the big cities and the big states are going to win most of the money, but I’m happy to try. I’m cautiously optimistic.” The largest project in Hickey’s request is $10 million for a new library.

The current library was designed for a population of $14,000, according to Hickey’s letter. It’s on the capital improvement plan to be replaced in 201-1/12.

Other projects listed in Hickey’s letter include:

$6 million for various wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

$4.1 million to replace the Turkey Hill Road bridge.

$2.6 million for town-wide road and drainage improvements.

$2.5 million to replace the highway garage.

$2.3 million to replace the South Fire Station.

$1.3 million for compost facility improvements.

$1.2 million for sewer line extensions.

$860,000 for Chamberlain Bridge improvements.

$730,000 to replace the McGraw bridge.

$390,000 to replace a box culvert on Amherst Road.