Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Littleton Profile Part III Two Evolutionary Phases

Part III of a five part series
Parts [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V]

When one looks at the evolution of Littleton, one cannot help but notice that the prosperity of today came from the completion of two distinct phases of development. The first with an emphasis upon physical infrastructure; and, the second with an emphasis upon human resources. Following on the heels of the Littleton Industrial Park, leaders within the community, led by Ed Hennessy of the Littleton Coin Company, began to address the issue of energy costs. Littleton’s independent municipal power company, Littleton Power and Light, became the first to participate in the NH deregulatory process that allowed it to “buy out” uncompetitive agreements and put their wholesale power needs out to bid competitively. The net result has been power costs that are among the least expensive in all of New England. The competitive advantage of this cannot be understated when it comes to well-paying industry jobs.
Investing in People

Most communities would assume that development of the physical infrastructure was enough. The Industrial park was moving forward and a critical mass of businesses were beginning to develop on Main Street. But not so Littleton. As King Covey puts it: “The quality of jobs is as important as the quantity and we knew that we had to focus on building our social infrastructure as well as our physical. You build community by investing in people - affordable housing, quality healthcare, strong schools and educational opportunities that strengthen the quality of the workforce.”

According to attorney and former state representative Brien Ward, who in 1992 was the spark plug behind the formation of the Littleton Economic Development Task Force, you also build bridges. “We had to Stand and Deliver, “ says Ward. “We couldn’t afford to have local food fights between the business community and the citizens or the town government. We needed to create an atmosphere of community and communication – to build local support and partnerships. We have made a concerted effort to eliminate turf, to develop a unified vision and to create a strong partnership between our schools and our community. We no longer talk “AT” each other, we now talk WITH one another.” And the atmosphere is infectious. Local dentist John Grisham, a Chicago transplant, is just one example of this. Grisham, who is President of the local Little League baseball program and donates mouth protection to local sports teams, recently announced that he would provide no cost dental services to victims of domestic violence. “I came here because of the community spirit of this town,” Says Grisham, “I want to play a part in keeping that spirit alive and vibrant.”

Barbara Ashley, who recently left a management position at a local bank to take over the helm of the Chamber of Commerce is a fixture at local events including dressing as Frosty the Snowman to the delight of children attending Littleton’s Frostbite Follies. These folks are just the tip of an iceberg of community involvement and volunteerism.

Parts [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V]

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