Mayor Craig feels that Manchester is on the rise--$360 million in new, private development has been negotiated; and, for the first time in 17 years, a new airline, Spirit Airline, will be servicing Manchester Airport.
In an interview with Chris Ryan, the Mayor of Manchester Joyce Craig, who is running for reelection, discusses how the Queen City is doing during this trying economic period; addresses what is being done about crime and the health of the community with emphasis on homelessness; talks about how the City of Manchester plans to use the $43 million from the American Rescue Plan; assesses the violent crime issue; and predicts how schools will reopen this fall.
Mayor Craig, who has been in office since 2017, feels that Manchester is on the rise. As examples of economic growth, the Mayor points out that $360 million in new, private development has been negotiated; and, for the first time in 17 years, a new airline, Spirit Airline, will be servicing Manchester Airport.
The problems of crime, homelessness, education, senior citizen issues, and helping small businesses rebuild after COVID are all concerns which Mayor Craig deals with every day.
Mayor Craig gives an explanation of what has been done in Manchester and in the state to addresshomelessness. She and the other mayors in the Granite State, appealed to Governor Sununu to form a state commission to develop a statewide plan to deal with homelessness.
On the local level, Mayor Craig has approached non-profits and businesses to help out. As a result, the number of shelter beds has been increased and outreaches into encampments are done every day. Recently, $4.7 million of federal funds have been used to set up an affordable housing trust which will be used by developers and non-profits to build affordable housing.
The Mayor is pleased that partnerships with Manchester Mental Health and Healthcare for the Homeless have been formed with the city’s Health Department, Police and Fire Departments.
In the interview, Chris Ryan and Mayor Craig get to the heart of the problem. You can only reach out to the homeless individuals and make them aware of the services which are available. You can’t force these individuals, who may be dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues, to accept treatment or go to the shelters.
Mayor Craig is hopeful that the $43 million coming from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan will establish a system where health workers will be available in every ward in the city. These health workers will provide a link to services and act as a liaison.
The federal funds are available over a five-year period. Any new programs must be tracked, and their progress measured. Mayor Craig maintains that any programs which are continued after the five years of federal funding are over, will not result in tax increases down the road.
Statistically, violent crime in Manchester is down, but Mayor Craig has increased the size of the police department over the last three years and part of the money from the American Rescue Plan will be applied to this problem.
In the final segment of the interview, Mayor Craig predicts that schools will reopen as close to “normal” as possible, but students and teachers who feel more comfortable wearing masks, they can.