The Community Development Department has worked on a number of special projects in addition to its administration of the Community Development Block Grant.
Cold War Portsmouth - A Snapshot of Life in Portsmouth During the 1950's
A social and historical context photo research document of the City of Portsmouth during the mid-twentieth century was created as per an agreement between the City of Portsmouth and NH Division of Historic Resources when the federal government transferred the Paul A. Doble Army Reserve Center at 125 Cottage Street to the City for the City's adaptive reuse into a new Senior Activity Center.
The full 68-page historical research and photo documentation was prepared by Preservation Company for the City and is available for viewing at the Portsmouth Public Library and the Portsmouth Athenaeum. In addition, a short video intended to highlight sections of the research document is available online.
The Community Development Department together with the Portsmouth Public Library organized and hosted a free and open to the public symposium on May 18, 2021 with a *premiere* screening of the video and a panel discussion of life in the 1950's. Click here for the recording of that event.
The non-CDBG projects and partnerships listed below are some recent and ongoing City initiatives funded through a variety of sources.
The City of Portsmouth has embarked upon a project to replace “Visual Labels” which were scattered throughout Portsmouth’s historic downtown.
The City of Portsmouth owns and maintains six historic cemeteries; these cemeteries today exist as invaluable snapshots of the lives and final resting places of residents of our community over our nearly 400 year history. Recognizing this, in 2013 The City of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Historical Society commissioned an existing conditions assessment report to begin the process of developing a long range restoration plan to maintain these historic resources for the benefit of future generations. For more information, please visit Portsmouth Parks and Greenery Division
Many in our community have asked how Portsmouth's African Burying Ground could have been forgotten. During the 1700s when the Burying Ground was actively used, the area that is now Chestnut Street was the undeveloped outskirts of town. Over time, as Portsmouth grew during the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, the African Burying Ground was paved over and built over and many forgot of its existence. Today, we recognize this important place as the only known DNA-authenticated African Burying Ground in all of New England that dates to this era.
In 2014, the Mayor appointed a Blue Ribbon Committee on Sagamore Creek Land whose charge was to develop a plan for public usage of the 66-acre city-owned parcel. The report was completed and adopted in November 2015 and work on its implementation continues.
Haven School Playground was renovated in 2016. The goal of this project was to improve park aesthetics, safety and functionality.