N.H. Town Banks on Prison, ATV Park
Plagued by high unemployment, vacant buildings and a recent string of fires, Berlin, N.H., is trying to reinvent itself, betting that a new 1,280-bed federal prison and New England’s first all-terrain vehicle (ATV) park will be the economic shot in the arm it desperately needs, according to the New York Times.
Berlin is hoping the two very different projects will help spur growth, bringing back residents, start new businesses and introduce tourists to the region.
The ATV park is expected to hold about 136 miles of trails and numerous campgrounds when it is completed in the next five years. About 20 miles are open now on the 7,500-acre tract, most of which the state bought from a logging company for $2.1 million in 2005. The state has estimated the park will eventually generate $694,000 in annual revenue.
“People see things coming down the pike,” said Mark J. Belanger, manager of the Berlin office of the New Hampshire Department of Employment. “For the first time in years there’s hope.”
Berlin is located 115 miles north of Concord, the state capital, and about 180 miles north of Boston.