“The same drive and purpose that got us the shipyard, the breweries, and Strawbery Banke will continue to fuel our growth for many years.”
As part of an ongoing Portsmouth City Council Candidate Q&A in my weekly PortsmouthLOVE Letter, I’ve reached out to all candidates in the 2015 City Council race with some questions. I’m including the answers of all who participated here on my website, in addition to featuring them in my weekly newsletter throughout the month of October, leading up to Election Day, November 3rd. For information on voting, visit the City of Portsmouth, NH’s website.
Eric Spear, City Council Candidate
Neighborhood: South End
Occupation: Computer Programmer
Education: George Mason University, West Virginia University
Relevant Experience: Eight years on city council
How do you think our city currently measures on the issue of workforce housing availability?
We’re okay – not bad, not great. We seem to have housing on both ends of the spectrum, but we are lacking in the middle. I also think we need to consider housing as a regional issue. How are towns like Rye, Stratham, and North Hampton contributing to a solution? Finally, housing and transportation are strongly linked. We need to beef up COAST to that people can affordably get to their homes and jobs.
How do you view the balance of arts & culture with business & economic growth in our city?
They are mutually beneficial. Putting aside tourism for a moment, which every can observe for themselves, I also see that employers are attracted to Portsmouth because of the exciting arts and culture. Likewise, people who work in the arts benefit from a robust, employed workforce.
What’s your favorite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
Are you kidding? How am I supposed to narrow it down? There are so many awesome things. The people, the architecture, the food, the arts,…I’m sure I’m leaving things out.
Does the city motto “The City of the Open Door” resonate with you — and if so, how?
Yes, I’m glad it’s our motto and it’s a welcoming motto. It embraces new people, new ideas, and provides an affirmation for growth, diversity, and warmth.
Is our city big enough, or does it have room to grow?
We’re only limited by our imagination. Okay, it’s a cliché, but in our case, it rings true. The type of convergence of talent, interest, and resources don’t come together very often. The same drive and purpose that got us the shipyard, the breweries, and Strawbery Banke will continue to fuel our growth for many years.
If you had your way, how would our city look in 10 years? In what ways would it differ from present-day Portsmouth?
Well, what happened to flying cars? I think we were promised flying cars by now, at least according to Disney in Tomorrowland and Doc in Back to the Future. That aside, I think we’re going to substantial improvements on Rt 1 and Woodbury in both public infrastructure and private development. Redevelopment of the downtown will continue, but we’re running out of space there, and so I think people will begin to look outward for more opportunities.