“Quality of life is a factor virtually all new business founders cite when deciding to locate in Portsmouth. People want to work near where they want to live and spend quality time.”
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.
Joshua Cyr, City Council Candidate
Neighborhood: Frank Jones Farm
Occupation: Director of Education and Acceleration – Alpha Loft
Education: Bachelors in Business Administration from UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics
Relevant Experience: Served on the Economic Development Commission for the last 6 years. Board member for Pro Portsmouth, WSCA FM, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce.
How do you think our city currently measures on the issue of workforce housing availability?
I think the city measures fairly poorly. This wasn’t always the case though it has always been tough to find a decent apartment in the last 15+ years that I have lived here. We have substantial demand for housing in our city, and very very little new housing supply being created. This is pushing up the prices of what we do have. Much of the new housing being built is done on very expensive land, pricing out most potential buyers/renters. The Portsmouth Housing Authority has done a good job helping those with the most dire need. Some 5% or so of our population. Folks somewhere in the middle are being squeezed. We need a broad look at how we can make real strides in adding additional housing at all price points. Some of that will come from zoning and some from more direction from the city to developers. High engagement from our residents when building our Master Plan is key. I encourage everyone to provide input and follow along with the Master Plan process.
How do you view the balance of arts & culture with business & economic growth in our city?
They are completely intertwined. Our arts and culture in Portsmouth are key drivers for our downtown economy. It isn’t just downtown, though. Quality of life is a factor virtually all new business founders cite when deciding to locate in Portsmouth. People want to work near where they want to live and spend quality time.
Does the city motto “The City of the Open Door” resonate with you — and if so, how?
It sure does. I moved to New Hampshire from Idaho. Moved to Portsmouth in 1997. There are always groups encouraging activities, education, sports, civic engagement, etc. Literally my favorite part of downtown is all of the open doors we have. Restaurants and pubs, art galleries and performance venues, shops and local businesses. Not all cities have this. Certainly not with the small population that we have.
Is our city big enough, or does it have room to grow?
There is always room for growth. The question is how. It is hard to be “The City of the Open Door” and have actually closed off all access to the city for those who where not lucky enough to already get in or are priced out.