Been to Arms Park lately? You may not recognize it – outdoor furniture, corn hole and a cool new vibe

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Custom-designed chairs adorned with the Manchester Connects logo, part of the newest upgrades to the lovely riverside green space. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – When’s the last time you visited Arms Park? You may need to swing by, because things are changing.

Today, for example, a number of people who work in the downtown took advantage of the recent upgrades to the riverside gathering space – now featuring picnic tables, benches, planters with flowers, custom-designed chairs and even a permanent concrete cornhole station – to talk about the current interest in elevating the city, and what the future looks like.

The facelift was courtesy of Manchester Connects and a $19,660 AARP Community Challenge Grant Program created to build momentum for more livable communities, nationwide. Many of the group’s core members were on hand for the unofficial unveiling, and to help film a promotional video to talk about the momentum behind their group.

A kid playing cornhole for a promotional video being made by Manchester Connects. Courtesy Photo

The group’s vision includes making the city more livable and walkable, and linking communities separated by the river through “placemaking” details, like games, seating, benches and – perhaps one day – a pedestrian bridge. More green space and a kayaking course have also been floated as possible projects for the future.

As of today, progress looks like comfy seating options, for lunching or just sitting back and enjoying the fall foliage.

Lauren Smith, left, Policy and Strategic Outreach Director for the mayor, sits with her boss, Mayor Joyce Craig, on a chilly but sunny autumn afternoon at Arms Park to test out the new picnic tables. Courtesy Photo

“AARP is excited to provide funding to Manchester Connects to help them jumpstart progress on this exciting project,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Todd Fahey.  “This grant will help them continue their important work on building a livable community for people of all ages by providing funding for key improvements to Manchester’s iconic Arm’s Park and the innovative vision of Manchester Connects. 

David Ludwig of Prestige Auto Body was commissioned to create custom chairs to match the  Manchester Connects brand.

Large planters have been added to Arms Park as part of a Community grant. Courtesy Photo

“I am very fortunate to have been given many abilities to create the metal sculptures for different charities. Whether it be for cancer, drug awareness, or to beautify our city, it’s extremely rewarding to be able to have a positive effect on people’s lives through art!,” Ludwig said. 

“Receiving a grant from a national organization such as AARP is a great form of validation for Manchester Connects,” said the organization’s co-chair Sarah Jacobs. “We have ambitious goals as we strive to make Manchester a more vital community, and this is a grand step on that path.” 

You can join the Manchester Connects Facebook group and be part of the change.

⇒UPCOMING EVENT – Pop-up lunch bunch: Plan to grab a lunch and join Mayor Joyce Craig and Manchester Connects to officially cut the ribbon and be part of the ‘pop-up lunch bunch’ at Arms Park, located at 10 Arms Street along the Merrimack River, on Oct. 25 from 12-1 p.m. – and don’t forget to bring your cornhole bean bags. ⇒Register for the Arms Park “lunch bunch” event here via Eventbrite.


About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!