North End Neighborhood Association off and running


The fledgling North End Neighborhood Association met recently, found plenty to talk about and agreed to meet again next month.

"That's a start," said organizer Jim Coyne. "There seemed to be good interest, good discussion, good ideas … The idea is to get communication going, share concerns and ideas."

Mr. Coyne, an insurance business owner and former selectman who lives on Gifford Road, called the March 3 meeting to see if there is enough interest to establish a North End Neighborhood Association.

Twenty-six people showed up and, in a wide ranging hour and a half discussion, touched on a variety of topics — schools, the technology overlay district, bike path, participation in town government and more.

When they were done, they decided to meet again  — Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m. in the American Legion Hall, 429 Sanford Road.

Mr. Coyne said all who came seemed to share his desire that the effort by neither political nor divisive.

"The intention is not to be in competition with any part of town," he said going in. "Everyone is welcome — north, east west and south." If it did become divisive, he said he would withdraw, and others echoed that sentiment.

Several people from the south end of town were among those to attend.

"It makes sense," Mr. Coyne said, because "if something bad happens to someone on Gifford Road, it probably has an impact on someone who lives in some other part of town."

There to help at the first meeting was Carlos Cesar, leader of Fall River's Flint Neighborhood Association. He described how that association works and said that town departments — police, school and others — often send representatives to answer questions that arise.

One issue discussed is "the need for getting people involved." Several people voiced concern about the fact that the only contested race in the upcoming April election is for school committee.

Among those to attend was Gail Rodrigues of the Bike Path Committee who handed out fliers about bike path possibilities in town.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.