“I am a life long resident of Portsmouth and my heart will always belong to this city.”
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.
Jack Blalock, City Council Candidate
Neighborhood: Reside in Little Harbor neighborhood and business is downtown Portsmouth.
Occupation: Owner of Old Ferry Landing Restaurant with son Richard and daughter Jackie.
Education: College graduate with a BA in Political Science and History.
Relevant Experience: 2years as Assistant Mayor on City Council; 15 years on Zoning Board of Adjustment and 8 years as Chairman; currently on the PHA Development Board, Ltd..
How do you think our city currently measures on the issue of workforce housing availability?
Workforce housing and affordable housing continue to be part of the public discussion. I currently serve on the Portsmouth Housing Authority Development Board as a director and we are actively seeking solutions and new opportunities. Finding available and appropriate sites is our main agenda. The difficulty in the availability is based on the property values here in Portsmouth. Diverse housing that supports our economic growth and workforce is important to sustain the prosperity of the city. This will continue to be an issue the Council will need to be addressed in conjunction with other development opportunities.
How do you view the balance of arts & culture with business & economic growth in our city?
Portsmouth’s success and popularity is due to the unique mix between the arts and history with business and economic growth. We have a variety of robust cultural activities between the Music Hall, Prescott Arts Festival and Strawbery Banke. Several art galleries, museums and display of public artists promotes the arts through out our community. The integration of the performing arts supports the local economy and has helped create Portsmouth as a destination and envy of all New England.
What’s your favorite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
I love the energy of our downtown on any given day and I can frequently be seen walking or visiting the local coffee shop. Our streets are alive with people visiting, shopping, playing music and frequenting the downtown businesses for work or play. I have often said, “If you sit in Market Square long enough, you will see half the people you know—it’s very social.” I also love to walk the city, ride a bike and dine in the many quality restaurants we have.
Does the city motto “The City of the Open Door” resonate with you — and if so, how?
Portsmouth is such a welcoming city to visitors, new residents, developers and of course its long time citizens. It is a gateway to a very unique experience for many people. Our motto, “The City of the Open Door” perfectly describes our vision today and what it was back in 1623.
Is our city big enough, or does it have room to grow?
Portsmouth will always have room to grow. I think we have been creative in finding ways to create housing and development opportunities within our small borders. Our population (21,400) may not change much but our city operates like a city of 50,000 to 60,000 with our visitors, jobs and commerce that keeps our economy vibrant.
If you had your way, how would our city look in 10 years? In what ways would it differ from present-day Portsmouth?
In 10 years I hope the city continues to thrive but preserve its special charm and character. I would hope we will continue to make responsible decisions and do what’s right for Portsmouth and its residents. It is important that we also integrate the right amount of development with the arts, history and business. I am a life long resident of Portsmouth and my heart will always belong to this city.