Imagine Sunapee IDs community “ideas, dreams and opinions”

Sunapee Harbor Riverway and Project Sunapee gathered “a fantastic variety of ideas, dreams and opinions” from Imagine Sunapee…2020, a pubic forum held at Sunapee Harbor in March 2012.

The two groups, the Riverway and Project Sunapee, sponsored the forum that attracted wide participation by local committees and non-profits.

Event organizers recently shared what they learned:

“Citizens of Sunapee see a need for more contact and communication with other people in town. The seasonal nature of our population, the lack of a town center and the absence of a year round gathering place were some of the reasons given for our unique challenge in meeting this need.”

“Our townspeople have lots to say about the future of Sunapee! They have strong feelings about the things they care about, and there is great support for efforts to enhance the feeling of community.”

To read/download the feedback gathered at the forum, click on Imagine Sunapee Forum – Feedback (PDF 3.2 MG).

The idea behind the forum was to offer a venue where civic groups and committees could share information about their work and goals and where members of the public could ask questions and offer their own ideas and suggestions.

Organizers want to reconvene in early summer to “continue the conversation.”

To receive an event notice, contact Project Sunapee, email:

Imagine Sunapee committee members are Sue Mills, Muriel Bergeron, Janet Haines, Donna Gazelle, Barbara Sullivan and Mike Durfor.

Three ideas from the forum that generated the most interest were identified as:

  1. A year round coffee shop in town, which was the “far the most popular dream!”
  2. A physical, year round place (for clubs, youths and seniors) to gather for various events and activities: recreation, social functions, arts and music performances, farmer’s or crafts markets, birthday parties, etc.
  3. A farmer’s/crafts market

Other popular ideas include:

  • Organized beach games
  • Winter carnival
  • Sunapee mini triathlon
  • Street dances
  • Community garden
  • Mountain bike trails
  • Ice fishing derby
  • Outdoor movies by the river
  • Community event like ‘Old Home Day’
  • Organized walking group
  • Sledding parties
  • More nature trails
  • Youth center with a place for dances
  • Year-round harbor restaurant

People also said they’d like to have an on-line events calendar; open Beach Street to traffic; renovate the town’s elementary school; and build a new town library.

And here are more ideas from the forum:

  • Film festival
  • River front amphitheater for music, readings, contemplation
  • Toboggan run on to the Lake
  • Rowing regatta
  • Grocery store
  • Neighborhood competitions: block parties, canoe races, games, and “fun like in the old days”
  • Tea room
  • Breakfast on the M.V. Kearsarge

“Ambitious ideas” included:

  • Establishing a local TV/cable station
  • Having a turf soccer field
  • Installing lights and sidewalks on Main Street
  • Removing the poison ivy at Dewey Beach
  • Providing more opportunities for local agriculture
  • Paving on High and Maple streets and North Road

Roundabout ConceptImagine Sunapee also asked people to consider and give ideas about the town’s master plan and its implementation.

People could offer their ideas for Sunapee’s future by using a spontaneous “whatever comes into your head” method and by “dot voting” for suggestions posted on various displays.

Sunapee Harbor Riverway Corporation, founded in 1992 to “preserve and protect” the lakeside village, owns several properties at Sunapee Harbor including those that house the Anchorage Restaurant, Wild Goose Country Store, Sargents Marina, Harborside Trading, Sunapee Harbor Sweet Shop and Deli, and Quack Shack Ice Cream. It also owns Pete’s Shed, the home to Jenkins Dance and Gymnastics, Slavin’s Haven Preschool, Sine-Wave Technologies and the Sunapee Harbor Riverway office.

Project Sunapee is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to supporting and encouraging economic vitality and education, cultural and historic assets, scenic landscapes and the social well being of our community.”

Photos courtesy of Project Sunapee.

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