I recently read a blog written by a man named Thomas Knapp back in June of 2016, where he suggested that the 2020 Libertarian Presidential Convention be held here in Manchester. Knapp pointed out that Manchester is accessible and that it has the convention space needed. I agree that Manchester would be a great location for the convention for the reasons that Mr. Knapp pointed out in his blog. In addition, Manchester has the infrastructure and could handle the logistics for a mid-size convention. And there is the fact that there are many Libertarians in New Hampshire, many of whom relocated here as part of the Free State Project (FSP). New Hampshire is the chosen state for the FSP, so it would make sense that a convention be held here. But alas, the Libertarian Party National Committee has decided that the 2020 presidential convention will be held in Austin, Texas.
Reading the blog and thinking about the changes as well as the growth that Manchester is experiencing made me ask myself why we shouldn’t be trying to attract more to Manchester. Why not Manchester? Of course, when I pose the question to some, I get the somewhat canned response of “because of all the crime” or “all the drugs.” I have even heard, “we have become just like Boston.”
While I understand that there is a serious opioid problem in our city, which contributes to homelessness and some crimes, Manchester isn’t the dark and dreary Gotham-type place that some say it is. Manchester is a city of almost 110,000 people – one that has evolved from a small mill town to a growing economic engine with thriving hi-tech and biotech sectors. It has gone from a small city between Boston and the White Mountains without much, to a destination that boasts incredible eateries, a growing arts scene as well as great cultural attractions. Maybe some aren’t used to what Manchester has become or don’t want it to grow anymore. But our city is growing, has fresh, new leadership and a new more cooperative spirit, and many people who absolutely love it and want to see it succeed. (And for the record, being referred to as “just like Boston” doesn’t seem all that negative to me).
If only more people appreciated Manchester like longtime Queen City cabbie Louie Applebaum, who recently took Ink Link editor-in-chief Carol Robidoux on a guided tour of our great city. Carol wrote of Louie, “People who choose to draw conclusions about our city based on what they think, not on fact; not on the kind of information guys like Louie have learned, by heart.” I agree with Louie that Manchester is a great place and that people draw their own conclusions no matter the facts.
I have previously written about some ambitious goals and things that would be great in Manchester, including neighborhood names on street signs and riverfront events. I even think that glowing trees would be cool in our city but think that we should start small (dream big and start small).
One thing that we should always do is work on bringing higher-profile events here. I once read somewhere an idea of bringing a Winter Olympics to New Hampshire with Manchester being the host city. Of course, something like this would be a huge undertaking – and given the recent rejection of the 2024 Summer Olympics by Boston, partly because of the massive requirements and costs – it is doubtful that we will see a local bid anytime soon. But Manchester attempting to attract larger events is a good thing because our city is ready to take the next step. (But let me be clear that we should not be trying to attract events – or anything – by offering to pay for them. I understand that some public money may need to be used for such things as public safety, which can be offset by funds made from the event, but we shouldn’t be “offering the farm”).
Some smaller events that should be considered include the aforementioned Libertarian Presidential convention, (since the party has made their decision for 2020 we should go for 2024), more minor league all-star games, (ECHL and Minor League Baseball), more NCAA tourney events, riverfront events, (including maybe a reimagined Riverfest), more high profile events at the SNHU Arena, and more outdoor concerts at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. We could also better utilize Gil Stadium, JFK Coliseum, West Side Ice Arena, McIntyre Ski Area, and Derryfield Park. I also think more high profile live music and theatre events would be great for our city.
Manchester is a great city and everything positive about our home should be showcased to everyone on the outside. Instead of always focusing on the bad we should highlight the good (which far outweighs the negative stuff). Of course, we wouldn’t be the first city to highlight the positive, so let’s show the world why we are great!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.