Part 2: "The Rest of the Story & CIP Timeline" - By Allan Herschlag
Updated: May 12, 2022
Part 2 of the Presentation for the 5/11 LP3 Informational Public Meeting:
"The Rest of the Story & CIP Timeline" - By Allan Herschlag
You have heard a lot about Langley Parkway lately. I want to try to explain why despite statements that there is no willingness to move forward with construction, those statements belie what is in the public record and actions the city council and other committees have taken.
You have heard that there will be no funds allocated to construct the road in the upcoming budget. I have no reason to doubt that.
But here - as Paul Harvey would have said - is the rest of the story.
At the Chamber’s State of the City address the manager referenced the full 8500 feet of Phase III. Both phases IIIA & IIIB. Phase III will go from from the hospital to North State Street.
At the most recent Transportation Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) meeting the mayor stated the manager was only referring to Phase IIIB, the section of the Parkway from Auburn to North State Streets. But that is not what the manager said.
Some councilors are now saying it’s not the full parkway that the city is interested in, but only the part of the road that involves development.
The reason we are told the City is only interested in the portion involving development is that without certainty where the Right of Way (ROW) for the road will be located, the owners of the Lincoln Financial site, Santander and the Irving properties are unable to move forward with development, because they don’t know how the proposed road will impact their plans for development.
But if the road isn’t going to be built, the only issue holding up the development of these properties is the shadow of a road that isn’t going to be built. So shouldn’t the road be removed from the CIP to let the developers develop their properties?
Why is the city holding up development of these properties by insisting on taking property for a road our mayor says isn’t going to be built?
Additionally, the Langley Parkway’s ROW for a future road on the Brady Sullivan property, removes some of the most developable land between the entrance road to the former Lincoln Financial buildings and Penacook Street.
In February 2022, the city council voted to continue to include Langley Parkway as a city council priority for their 2022-2023 term. The manager reports quarterly on the status of council priorities. His April 1st report to the council states:
Langley Parkway (CIP #40): This project is currently programmed for FY 2024 and FY 2026. A significant portion of the project funding is expected from private contributions or grants. The city will continue to explore all possible funding options.
If the road isn’t going to be built why is the manager exploring funding options. With $1.2 trillion in federal funding available for infrastructure projects and unspent COVID funding is there any doubt should outside funding become available to build the road, that construction wouldn’t start the next day.
Going back to 2013 the city held three meetings to publicly present the conceptual plans for the the parkway. Two of those meetings were held here at Bishop Brady and the third was in city council chambers.
Over 200 people attended those meetings, with the vast majority opposing the Parkway. Even the mayor spoke in opposition to the road.
Going back even further, in 2011, the city council unanimously gave the go ahead for the administration to apply for a Department of Transportation (DOT) TIGER III grant that would have paid for 60% of the anticipated costs of the road. The grant application also requested funding for the Main Street project. There was much discussion concerning the application by the city council. Whether the application should include a third project, the Sewalls Falls Bridge and whether the administration would have the ability to complete the application for both projects within the required timeline.
Also discussed was whether applying for the grant indicated the council approved moving forward with these projects. The public was assured that if the grant for the city was approved there would be public hearings and that no decision concerning moving forward would occur until after those hearings.
Fortunately, this grant application was not approved.
Fast forward to the second grant application TIGER IV, that only included the Main Street project and was approved. The same assurances were made. Submitting the application did not bind the city to move forward with the project or commit funding for the project.
But even before the grant was approved by the Department of Transportation, the administration had committed the city to moving forward with the project. Here are some of the commitments that were made in the application prior to any public input regarding accepting the grant and spending city funds for Main Street, followed by what was said at a July 11, 2011, city council meeting.
*In the TIGER IV application it states: “The ‘Rethinking Main Street’ project was accepted by the council at a public hearing in July 2011, which included the community consensus design, and placed it in the out years of the city’s 10-Year Capital Improvement program (CIP) due to the inability to completely fund the project. At the time of the completed study there was no reasonable expectation that State or Federal funds would be used for this project….”
*This is what was recorded in the July 11, 2011 city council draft minutes regarding the Mains Street Report:
“Mayor Bouley clarified that if Council votes in favor of the motion, they will just be accepting the report and the public would have the opportunity to comment on these items in the future.”
“Councilor Bouchard asked that by accepting the report this evening, that no money will be expended and Council will only be accepting the report and that there will be plenty of time for the community to come forward when this is being brought forth in the future. Mayor Bouley indicated that to be correct.”
The application further commits the city to funding the project and states “Project to start upon grant approval and be ready for construction by April 1, 2013.”
At that time neither project funding or the project had been approved by the council.
The application continues: “The city of Concord is committed to maintaining targeted funding sources, including annual maintenance and operation funds, and major capital project funds for upkeep.”
And again the council said that no funding would be allocated for the Main Street Project prior to public testimony.
And one last item: “Given that extensive preliminary design and analysis is included in the the Rethinking Main Street Report, including conceptual design layout, project specifications and project requirements, this project would be an excellent selection to receive TIGER 2012 grant funds where immediate expenditure is expected. Use of grant funds for the final design and permitting would start as soon as a grant award was made and as early June 2012 (current fiscal program year) with final design, permitting, and the public approval process expected to be complete no later than February 11, 2013 (February 2013 city council appropriations hearing), making way for the obligation of grant funds for construction no later than April 1, 2013. this would meet the federal funding obligations required by the grant program.”
This doesn’t say if the public approves of the project, it states when the public approval process is expected to be complete.
It is clear that what is written in the grant application is not what the council promised at their July 2011, meeting.
In other words, despite all the promises made by the council at that time, the Main Street project was a done deal at the time the grant was awarded.
Because of this process and because of serious underestimating of costs there were many nervous moments where it appeared the grant might be rescinded and there would not be the city and public resources to fund the project.
And one final note. The original cost sharing had the city and their private partners contributing 40% of the cost of the project. By the time the Main Street Project was completed the city’s share of the costs was approximately 70%.
This is important because what the city council promised you was not what the city stated in its grant application to the Department of Transportation
What would have happened if the original TIGER III grant had been approved? Langley Parkway would have already been constructed. It was just luck the grant wasn’t approved and we now have another opportunity to try and convince those representing us on the city council to remove a project that no longer makes any sense for our city.
So despite the mayor’s protestations and statements that he can’t see the road being constructed, the road remains in the CIP and remains a city priority. It has received unanimous support every year accept two, when I was on the council and voted against the budget, because of the inclusion in the CIP for work related to Langley.
At the most recent TPAC meeting, after the mayor remarked he didn’t see the parkway being constructed, Dick Lemieux the chairman, stated that unless the committee votes otherwise, they will continue to recommend construction of the parkway, as they have in the past.
Why was it important to discuss the Main Street Project when we are here tonight concerned with construction of the Langley Parkway. It is important because the same elements that allowed the administration to misrepresent the city’s position when applying for the TIGER grant exist today.
A project in the out years of the CIP because of a lack of funding. Statements that nothing will happen without hearing from you are not true when there are available outside funding sources.
It is my contention that a road that is destructive to our neighborhoods and environment, will still exact too high of a cost regardless of who is paying for it.
It is time to remove Langley Parkway from the city’s CIP and as a city council priority, once and for all.
One last note. During budget meetings, the public can speak to issues in the budget the council is discussing. The fact that money isn’t being allotted for the Parkway in this year’s budget doesn’t preclude you from testifying about items in the CIP, if those items are in the out years. Any councilor can make a motion to have Langley Parkway removed from the CIP. After all it is part of the budget document that they will be voting on.
And any councilor who voted on the prevailing side to accept the current city council priorities (remember it was an unanimous vote) can ask to reconsider Langley Parkway’s inclusion and have it removed.
CIP Time Line
Budget Proposed Projects for Estimated Est. Costs for
Year Current & Out Years Costs Budget Year
1995 - for all phases - $5,500,000 $5,500,000
1996 - Design phase II 150,000
1997 - Construct Phase II 1,500,000
2001 - Construct Phase III 4,000,000 5,650,000
*There is no breakdown as to where the financing
will come from in the 1996 CIP
1997 - Information missing
1998 - General Fund 5,535,000
Donations 1,300,000 6,650,000
1999 - Private Contributions Phase II 1,530,000
City’s Share 765,000
*This is the first time I am seeing a 2/3 private contribution
And 1/3 for the city. It is important to remember that the city.
*It is important to remember that for Phase II the city was
sharing the costs with Concord Hospital and St. Pauls School.
2002 - Design Phase III 450,000
2004 - Construct phase III and
land acquisition 4,200,000 6,945,000
2000 - Private Contribution Phase II (2/3) 1,670,000
City share (1/3) 500,000
*In 1999 and 2000 $70,000 of the city’s
shares anticipated to be funded by the
sewer enterprise fund.
2001 - Continued construction