Meet Mayor Jim Donchess
On January 10, 2016, Jim Donchess was sworn in as the 56th Mayor of Nashua.
Mayor Donchess’s vision is of a thriving, innovative, and renewed Nashua – a City where everyone is welcome, a City with opportunity for all.
Mayor Donchess is focusing on the economic growth of the community, on strategies to ensure that all of Nashua’s children reach their full potential, on a stronger infrastructure, and on the cultivation of a 21st century arts, cultural, and residential neighborhood in Nashua’s downtown.
Mayor Donchess, together with his Economic Development team, has made significant progress in growing Nashua’s economy. Over the past three years, new and established employers have brought hundreds of new jobs to the City. On Crown Street, makerspace MakeIt Labs is booming with new members and entrepreneurial activity. And the Mayor is a strong advocate for commuter rail service between Nashua and Boston as an important component of Nashua’s economic development agenda.
Mayor Donchess is encouraging the private sector’s numerous projects to bring over 500 new units of market-rate and affordable housing to Nashua’s downtown neighborhoods. The influx of new residents to refreshed, attractive, and livable neighborhoods in the City’s core is bolstering the efforts of Mayor Donchess to revitalize Nashua’s downtown and expand the City’s property tax base.
Mayor Donchess believes that a re-energized downtown is essential for Nashua’s overall success. Since taking office, he has enthusiastically encouraged and supported the Nashua Farmers Market, the NuMuse and New England Roots live music festivals, the Dinner on Main Street event, the Winter Holiday Stroll, Positive Street Art’s public art installations as well as the numerous parades, walks, races, and other celebrations throughout the year in the center City. In addition, two important cornerstones for the future of Nashua’s downtown are currently being put in place. Nashua’s long dreamed of Performing Arts Center project at 201 Main Street is finally happening. Estimates are that the PAC will bring more than 70,000 visitors annually to Main Street for entertainment, dining, and shopping. Furthermore, the Nashua Riverfront Development Plan for the downtown segments of the Nashua River – including continuous riverside walkways, enhanced access to the waterfront, and new green spaces, landscaping, and lighting – will begin implementation in 2019.
High on the list of his priorities is the Mayor’s concern for the well-being and success of every Nashua child. Mayor Donchess’s efforts on behalf of Nashua’s children include the expansion of full-day kindergarten across all of Nashua’s twelve elementary schools; the opening of the Arlington Street Community Center adjacent to the Dr. Crisp Elementary School with an eye to promoting stronger families and improved student learning in a healthier Crown Hill neighborhood; the start-up of the Meals for Kids program, which served 25,000 meals to Nashua’s school children during 2018; the launch of a summer youth jobs program for rising high school seniors featuring paying jobs in a number of City departments; and the recent kick-off of the Mayor’s Winter Reading Challenge to encourage reading and vocabulary building among Nashua’s elementary school children.
Other milestones for Mayor Donchess include the $37.5M citywide, multi-year Paving Plan of Action to dramatically improve the overall condition of the 300 miles of Nashua’s streets; Nashua’s pioneering Safe Stations program, which is helping and saving hundreds of persons who are seeking to enter treatment and pursue recovery for substance misuse; and Nashua’s very strong financial position as evidenced by the AAA bond ratings from Fitch and S&P.
Aside from his present mayoralty, Mayor Donchess also served two terms as the 51st Mayor of Nashua, when the City was recognized by Money Magazine as the Best Place to Live in America.
Mayor Donchess graduated from Yale where he majored in Art History and played varsity football. After college, he earned a law degree from NYU Law School with top academic honors. As a practicing attorney for many years in New Hampshire, Mayor Donchess represented scores of plaintiffs in lawsuits involving claims of sexual harassment and employment discrimination based on gender, race, ethnic origin, age, and disability.
Mayor Donchess and his wife Vicki have lived for many years in their home on Rockland Street. The other members of their family – beloved daughter Caroline, son-in-law David, and two-year-old grandchild Ajax – live in Oakland, CA.