The theme of this article changed a couple of times as I thought about what to write about.
I could have written about some great things happening in our city, including the construction of two new hotels, Southern New Hampshire University, (SNHU), constructing a parking garage in the Millyard, BAE Systems expanding operations to our city, Manchester being one of two cities in the nation to pilot the FedEx delivery robot, (designed by our very own Dean Kamen), Catholic Medical Center recently announcing a planned major expansion of their campus on the West Side, and of course the bringing back of the Rex Theatre in Downtown.
I could have written about the ongoing opioid epidemic and how it is affecting our city or the homelessness issue and the increasing presence of homeless people on Elm Street. These things of course detract from our overall quality of life and prevent people from coming downtown. But these things are pretty much daily news and social media fodder and I didn’t want to write about them right now. I decided to write about making our city a great place to live and raise a family and how that can be done — or at least about an organization that could help bring that about.
I recently met a young man who moved to Manchester from Providence to attend SNHU and decided to stay in our city after graduation because he believes it is a great place to live and that exciting times are ahead. (We connected because he read that I lived in Providence for several years). He sees the potential that many unfortunately do not, and his excitement and passion for our city is inspiring.
I have my opinions about pretty much everything happening in our city and have always believed in taking action in order to bring about change. Therefore, instead of simply writing about our city, I’m taking action.
Back in 2013, I started a Facebook page called Manchester Forward as an online group with the premise of celebrating our city as well as the great things happening in it, honoring our city’s past, remembering that we have a rich history and have overcome many obstacles, (I believe that we need to understand our past in order to move forward), and advocating for the smart growth of our city as well as for the smart allocation of our resources, (including taxpayer money). In 2017, we started Instagram and Twitter accounts.
After talking to many people who are interested in helping move the city forward and learning just how many people do not feel that they are not being represented or listened to, I have decided that it is time for Manchester Forward to move to the next step and become an organization, not just an online group! It is time for us to step-up and help Manchester become a city that is great to live in and raise a family, not just a nice place to visit. I love Manchester and am excited that it is becoming a destination city for those who don’t live here, but my concern is for those who do as well as for those who own property and businesses here.
My vision for Manchester Forward is that it will be a non-political organization that will help Manchester move forward and become a great place to live and raise a family by helping improve our overall quality of life, (Manchester Forward will not endorse any candidate or position based on political affiliation). The three things that Manchester Forward will focus on, as mentioned earlier, will be celebrate, honor, and advocate.
Below I’ve listed some things that I would like to see Manchester Forward involved in. To put it simply, my vision for Manchester Forward is that it be an organization that just gets things done.
Projects that Manchester Forward could be involved in include:
- Install “Little Free Libraries” in neighborhoods, (and Downtown)
- Host/Co-host neighborhood block parties
- Start “Adopt-A-Block” program to increase neighborhood pride, (possibly work with MPD to add Crime Watch)
- Seasonal neighborhood/citywide events, (haunted houses, carnivals, etc.)
- Partner with Intown, (or other organization[s]), to reload RiverFest
- Summertime street festival
- Winter festival, (at McIntyre and/or Derryfield Park?)
- Expand Trolley program, (art trolley and more/weekly downtown trolley)
- Neighborhood Identification, (street signs/arches)
- Advocate to become sister city with Manchester, UK, (we are her namesake and were modeled after her)
These 10 projects are not the extent of what Manchester Forward could do with the collective help of those involved, but give an idea of the types of things we would do. The mission of Manchester Forward is:
- To Celebrate our city by developing and executing initiatives and events that will add to the quality of life of the people in our city.
- To Honor our city’s past by developing and supporting initiatives that will preserve and honor our history.
- To Advocate for the smart growth of our city and the responsible use of our resources, (including our tax money)
If you are interested in helping out, learning more, or have any questions or comments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/manchforward. You can also follow us on Instagram or Twitter, (@manchforward).
We’re ready to work to make Manchester a great place to live and raise a family and hope to hear from you soon!
Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who has come home after spending several years living in Providence, Rhode Island. Brian and his family are excited to be back in Manchester and are focused on contributing to their community. Brian is the founder of Manchester Forward, a group that is dedicated to celebrating our city, honoring its history, and advocating for its smart growth. Brian merges his life experiences with his passions for innovation and community to develop his articles. Brian and his family live on the West Side. Brian can be reached via email at email@example.com.