Laconia State School Redevelopment Panel Defends Budget Request After Criticism From Governor | New Hampshire Public Radio

Laconia State School Redevelopment Panel Defends Budget Request After Criticism From Governor

Jun 29, 2020

Part of the former Laconia State School and Lakes Region Facility prison is seen behind an environmental hazard warning in 2019.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A panel looking at redeveloping the former Laconia State School is pushing back on concerns about a request for money from the state.

The Lakeshore Redevelopment Planning Commission has asked for $16 million in the state's capital budget.

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It would cover infrastructure upgrades and environmental cleanup they say is needed before the property can be sold to a developer.

The scenic 200-acre site formerly housed people with developmental disabilities and was later a state prison that closed in 2009.

Governor Chris Sununu had harsh words for the funding proposal last week – saying the commission is trying to spend too much improving the site, instead of just selling it as per their mandate.

At the group's meeting Monday, commissioners like Gino Baroni argued their budget request and other activities are in line with that goal. 

"If we tried to sell it today, I think everything we've done - we'd just throw it in the trash can, quite frankly,” Baroni said.

The group says they're also pursuing grant money and their final budget request could wind up much lower.