House Passes Seashell Project
House Includes $14.5 Million in Capital Budget
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, April 14, 2009
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- The redevelopment project at the Hampton Beach State Park, which includes constructing a new Seashell stage, is another step closer to becoming a reality.
The New Hampshire House voted Thursday, to approve the capital budget that includes $14.5 million to pay for the construction of two new bathrooms facilities, as well as a new Seashell stage complex. The only portion of the project not funded was a new visitors' center at the park.
"This is a major accomplishment for us," said John Nyhan, chairman of the Hampton Beach Area Commission. "Although we are not there yet and there is still a lot of things that can change, I feel very optimistic."
The commission started a grass roots campaign several months ago to get the project included in the capital budget.
The $211 million total capital budget will now go to the Senate.
The budget authorizes $127.47 million in general fund bonds and leverages an additional $94 million in federal matching and grant money to deal with several major new construction projects across the state.
Originally the redevelopment project at Hampton Beach was not part of the capital budget proposed by Gov. John Lynch. The House Public Works and Highway Committee voted last week to include funding for this project, along with others around the state. The committee came up with the money by eliminating roughly $83 million earmarked for school building aid.
Lynch wanted to borrow the school aid money as the state did last year, but the committee said it squeezed out too many construction projects.
Committee members said they didn't expect to see the bonding of school aid included in the capital budget because they were assured that it would not be. The state has traditionally funded the building aid program through its operating budget.
The approved capital budget by the House spends $150 million on new construction projects in 20 communities in all 10 counties.
Other project on the list include $5 million for a new liquor store in Nashua and nearly $16 million for renovating two technical high schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.