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Residents Of Ward Two – I Would Like To Thank You For Re-electing Me To Represent You For Two More Years!

Residents of Ward Two – I would like to thank you for re-electing me to represent you for two more years!

November 5th was a very successful election here in Nashua!

 

 

I will continue to help the residents of Ward Two and the City of Nashua  for the next two years on the Boqard of Aldermen.  Some of my accomplishments during the last two years:

  •  Have been working since before school re-opened to improve the student safety of students walking to school.  You may have noticed the solar speed indicator on Charlotte Ave to notify cars of their speed just before they get to the marked 20 MPH speed sign.  Speed limits around all schools is 20 MPH.  More signs will be going in on Charlotte Avenue to better highlight crosswalks and the 20 MPH speed limit.  Working with the Department of Public Works (DPW) we have indicated lines on the corner of Charlotte Street and Charlotte Ave to square off the corner to slow cars down.  A more permanent change will be coming in the future (new Safe Street Federal Grant money).  With the DPW I will be putting in legislation to make Charlotte Street and Charlotte Ave intersection a three- way stop.  This needs legislation that will be presented very shortly.  The DPW has also striped “no parking” areas on either side of the main school crosswalk where the school has been using orange cones everyday (which I purchased for them) to mark off these spaces.  Police will take note of illegally parked cars. Improved sight lines will make the crosswalk safer.
  • Working diligently with the Ashland Street neighborhood to try and fix the issue caused by the sudden and unexpected cutting of trees in the Edgewood Cemetery.  The City has stop ordered any additional work being done in the Cemetery until a plan can be developed and the neighbors kept apprised.  After the neighborhood meeting it was decided to lift part of the stop work order to allow the stumps to be removed, stump holes filled and temporary lawn planted until a formal re-development plan can be devised by a Landscape Architect and the neighborhood has a chance to see it and comment. I will notify residents using several methods to ensure good communication is maintained.
  •  Roosters:  The Humane Society ended up with three roosters which became a burden to the neighbors because of the noise.  I am currently working with Nashua’s legal department and Community Development to ensure the current roosters find a new home and no additional roosters end up at the Humane Society. As an update:  Roosters are not allowed at the Humane Society because it violates City Zoning Ordinances.  The Humane Society has been notified and no further Roosters will be allowed.  We have found several places (outside Nashua) that will accept Roosters.
  • Many of our Ward Two streets have been re-paved (Tinker Road, Ashland, Exit 8, Henry Burque, Amherst Street, Charron Avenue, etc.)  as well as many other streets in the City.  Many major roads have recently been completed such as Broad Street, Amherst Street, Main Dunstable, Spit Brook Road and others.  Kinsley Street has now been completed after extensive work under the street and a complete new base.
  •  I have been Chairman of the City Budget Committee for the past few years and have strived to ensure City Services are maintained at the level you deserve and desire, but at a reasonable cost. We kept the tax rate under 3% even after a $3M Health Insurance hit this coming year. (under 1.6% without the Health Insurance dollars.)
  •  I am the Chairman of the Joint Special School Building Committee (JSSBC) and we have just embarked on a very important Middle School Project (see more detailed write up on my homepage).  I have been involved with the JSSBC for some 17 years during which we built two new high schools and renovated five elementary schools.  I learned a great deal from Brian McCarthy and hope to finish this middle school project which he helped kickoff.  This project was one of his most cherished objectives.
  •  I am also the liaison from the Board of Aldermen to the Board of Education

I’m hoping I can continue to serve the residents of Ward Two for the next two years.

The following are my answers to the League of Women Voters questions recently.  I have the long version here as their programs only allowed shorter answers.  Please feel free to reach out to me if you have other questions I can answer for you.

What qualities and experience do you think would (or does) make you a good alderman?

I am running for re-election as the Ward Two Alderman. I have served four consecutive terms as the Ward Two Alderman and during that time I have also served as the Board of Aldermen Budget Chairman, Chairman of the Joint Special School Building Committee, Pennichuck Special Water Committee, City of Nashua Rail Committee and liaison to the Board of Education. I bring over 36 years of appointed and elected official experience in Nashua to the position of Ward Alderman and enjoy making Nashua a great place to live and raise children

Prior to my election to the Board of Aldermen I was a member, and past president, of the Board of Education for ten years. During my tenure on the BOE and the BOA I have been directly involved in the design and construction of the two high schools, the renovation of the Broad Street elementary school, Fairgrounds Elementary School, Charlotte Avenue Elementary school, Ledge Street Elementary School and Sunset Heights Elementary School. All projects were completed on time and under budget.

As Chairman of the JSSBC and longtime member of the JSSBC, I have been involved in the construction or renovation of the schools mentioned above, and I’m currently working on the very critical Middle School construction/renovation project. This project has just completed the Phase I data collection process and will now move to the final selection process and design phase.  The major question being answered is the financial and educational decision as to renovating the 84 year old Elm Street Middle School or to build a new state of the art, but cost-effective, new middle school on City owned land in South Nashua.  The Pahe I report will be on the School District and City websites very shortly.

I also bring over 40 years experience as a retired BAE Systems, Systems Engineering Manager and a Professional Logistician responsible for ensuring very complex military systems were built to last over 20-30 years and were also very maintainable. This experience has help me look at City acquisition to include Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis, so we spend money wisely. In any acquisition process or construction process you must look beyond acquisition cost and towards cost to the City over the next 20-30 years.

 

How would you describe an alderman’s duties to the people of Nashua in your own words?

As a Ward Alderman you represent not only the residents of your Ward, but also the entire City of Nashua. Now being retired I have more time to devote to city business and watching out for the needs of my Ward constituents and all City residents. I am currently working with homeowners who neighbor Edgewood Cemetery to help resolve the major tree cutting that took place off Ashland Street so that this area of the Cemetery is once again, however different, a pleasing site. Working with the Cemetery Trustees and the Mayor, we have included the neighbors in the new design process for this portion of the Cemetery. I hope to continue to ensure the neighbors voices are heard.

I also, since well before the election process, have been working to improve school safety at the Charlotte Avenue school. I had a solar speed indicator installed on Charlotte Avenue which has slowed traffic down (speed limit during school hours is 20 MPH), had spaces blocked off on either side of the crosswalks to improve sight lines when children are crossing the street, and working with the Department of Public Works, have used traffic lines to try and prevent people cutting the corner on Charlotte Street onto Charlotte Avenue. This will eventually be worked with physical barriers and is currently going through the design process. I am also sponsoring legislation to install a three way stop on this same intersection.

As Chairman of the Joint Special School Building Committee I am working special Security upgrade program for all schools in the Nashua District. Charlotte Avenue School has had the new security vestibule installed along with new security cameras. Using State allocated funds and City funds, we are moving quickly to improve security at all Nashua Schools.

 

What do you think the biggest challenges facing the City right now?

While Nashua has once again been selected as one of the best cities to live in New England (3rd) and the Best in New Hampshire, and having been selected as one of the safest cities to live in, your Mayor and the Board of Aldermen have been doing a very good job for the residents of Nashua. We are not without challenges, however. We are still fighting the opioid drug problem which is hurting our residents. We have done a great deal to fight this epidemic and one of the best assists in this area is our Safe Stations program. Our fire fighters have taken on the challenge to assist in this program and have helped hundreds of people kick this terrible problem. Our Police Department has made it extremely hard to sell drugs in Nashua without being caught and prosecuted.

We also face a challenge of fixing our City infrastructure. Roads under past administrations had fallen into terrible shape and your Mayor and current Board of Aldermen have taken on a bonded project to repair and resurface over 70 miles of roads in the past two years, with more to come in the five-year project. In addition, many of our City’s buildings have fallen into severe disrepair due to lack of funding driven by an arbitrary City spending cap. While your current elected officials do not want taxes to raise to levels our residents cannot afford, spending must be balanced to recover the neglect that our infrastructure has suffered over the past decade. As Chairman of the City Budget Committee, I have worked with the Mayor and all Department Heads to balance “need” and “reasonable spending”.

 

If elected, what are three specific things you’d like to accomplish?

I lost a very true friend in Alderman President Brian McCarthy a year ago and I would like to see his priorities reach a successful conclusion. One of his true desires was to see the Nashua Middle School project be successful. We are just finishing the completion of Phase I where the largest decision to be made is whether to renovate the 84-year-old Elm Street middle school or build a new middle school in the Southern part of Nashua. On October 8, our Architect and Construction Manager presented findings in their professional evaluation on that question and the findings regarding the other two current middle schools. I would like to see the middle school project meet a successful conclusion by ensuring our middle schools meet State and Federal middle school requirements and provide the educational opportunities and physical space that our children need to handle the successful transition from the elementary school level to the high school. It has been seventeen years since we completed the two Nashua High Schools and it is time to shift our focus to the middle school area. It is our intent to be financial prudent as we progress through this building project.

I’d also like to see us complete the current street re-paving program, which is well underway. We know we have streets left to do and when we’re completed, we will ensure we have budgeted funds to not ever let our streets fall in the disrepair we experienced in the past.

While not directly involved in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) project, which again was one of President McCarthy’s top priorities) I have been lending my 17 years’ experience working with Architects and Construction Managers to provide whatever guidance I can to that project. I hope the successful fundraising project allows this project to work toward completion. While some residents are concerned about the cost, the PAC will greatly assist our downtown businesses to be even more successful (bringing in more tax revenue which will benefit all residents) and attract more downtown private investment which again is great for the City of Nashua.

 

Do you have any priorities to your own Ward?

My top priority for Ward Two is to ensure the safety of our children. When children go to school, they should feel safe and secure and their parents should feel safe sending them to school. The walk to and from school should not be threatened by people driving far too fast near a school or from anyone entering a school with a gun. I am taking several steps to ensure this safety of these children and hope to be able to continue this project in the coming year. Working with the Mayor’s Office we applied some time ago for a Safe Routes to School Project funding which we received and are just waiting for State review of the design to commence work. I hope to ensure this work is done as soon as possible. I also hope to continue working on the safety improvements for all Nashua schools and personally oversee every school installation.

Ward Two is a great place to live in Nashua and I want to do everything I can to ensure that stays true. I need to continue to push for more streets to be repaired and repaved in accordance with the current City DPW Plan so that everyone can have a street that is smooth and safe to ride on. I hope to continue working with the residents around Edgewood Cemetery to resolve the massive tree cutting that occurred recently and keep them involved in the new design. This will take frequent interfacing with the Cemetery, the Trustees, the City and the residents to ensure people are happy with the results. This project will take time and now being retired I can devote the time required to help the residents of Ward Two.

We had an issue recently with roosters being dropped off at the Humane Society which caused a lot of residents to be awakened and annoyed by the sounds coming from that sight. Roosters are not allowed in any Zone in Nashua and we were successful in having the roosters moved and ensuring we have sites outside of Nashua where people can bring roosters.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the voters?

I have devoted 36 years to serving the citizens of Nashua in appointed and elected positions and hope to continue that service for another two years on the Board of Aldermen. I feel that I have lent my expertise in many areas to ensuring City spending is reasonable and directed at the things the residents of Ward Two and Nashua need and deserve. I will not approve wasteful spending and will ensure that money spent in Tax dollars are spent wisely and in the right areas. It would be foolish to promise no new taxes as much of our spending is driven by areas beyond our control (health Insurance, utilities, school busing, increasing costs of goods and services to the City to name a few). Our job as Aldermen is to do the best job, we can in controlling spending while providing the services our residents need. We’d also be in a much better position budget wise if the State did not keep increasing costs to the Cities and Towns in New Hampshire by reducing revenues sent back to us. We are now seeing that trend change a bit in this past year and I will work with our State officials to continue this trend in the right directon.

 

 

 

If you would be willing to host one of my signs until the election, please email me at:

rdowd1@comcast.net

Thank you for your support!

 

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