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A landscape architect’s rendering of the Town Common, in front of the entrance to the Dover Town Hall.

Town and Village

Dover Town Common plan moves forward

DOVER—The town is in the midst of its plans to develop the Town Common area to answer the question, “How can we enhance the look of the town of Dover?,” says Economic Development Director Ken Black.

Located in the town center, the common is surrounded by Holland and Taft Brook Roads. The Dover Free Library and the Town Hall sit on the property.

Black stresses the Town Common plan will “enhance and beautify an already iconic area, and it will improve on it without infringing on the area,” adding, “we’re not going to remake it, we’re just going to enhance it.”

He encourages interested parties to visit the town’s website to see the plans.

Although Black, when asked about possible opposition to the plan, replied, “opposition is a strong word,” he noted some townspeople had specific concerns, including wanting parking close to the entrances of the Town Hall and library.

The request for proposals the town published on its website dedicates four of its nine “elements to be included in the requested drawing” to parking, including “maintain[ing a] visually appealing parking area,” and “provid[ing] realistic walking distance to the Town Hall."

Black says the project officially kicked off with a landscape architectural study performed a few years ago.

From it, two potential spots were identified: the “iconic New England” village green site, and the Route 100 corridor in West Dover, which nearly all area visitors see as they travel to the area’s skiing and other outdoor recreation spots.

Since then, the survey of the Town Common site has been completed, and the engineering plan is underway. Holden Engineering & Surveying, based in Bedford, N.H., is performing the work.

“The engineering plan should be done by early- to mid-spring,” Black adds, noting that “after the engineering study, Holden will supply us with an estimate on the construction costs.”

“Then, we’ll have a public meeting” where townspeople will learn about the project and its cost, he says.

Black encourages townspeople to “respond to the study and ask questions, and give their input,” after which the Selectboard will vote whether the town will move forward on Holden’s plans.

The financing for this $200,000 project comes out of economic development funds, says Black, and those funds come from Dover’s 1-percent local option tax.

“The voters decided to implement the 1-percent option tax about six or seven years ago” Black says, and they dedicated the proceeds to six different concerns: beautification, events, marketing, telecommunications, trails, and venues.

“It’s my role to develop projects in the six areas, and I bring those ideas to the Selectboard,” for them to vote on, Black says.

Of the 1% local option tax, Black says, “it works.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #298 (Wednesday, March 25, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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