Chamber Crusade for Plastic Shingles Amazes Many

You’d think that our local Chamber of Commerce– whose fortunes ride on marketing the charms of historic Portsmouth– would understand the difference between wood and plastic.

So folks were startled to see Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce President Doug Bates fighting for HDC permission to replace cedar shingles with vinyl on three sides of the Chamber’s soon-to-be renovated  building.  “What does our Chamber stand for – who are they?” asked a stunned observer.  “Who do they represent? Don’t they understand why the city’s Historic  District brings in tourist bucks? They want to replace real wood (a significant part of the NH economy) with plastic (where does that come from?) at a major Gateway to Portsmouth?”

The HDC is the final guardian of the fragile character of this historic city. During a rehearing of the plastic vs. wood issue last week, plastic lost 7-2. Only HDC members John Wyckoff and HDC chairman Joseph Almeida (who has also openly advocated for more massive buildings in the Historic District) argued that they saw little difference between the two. As the rest of the HDC noted, the Chamber headquarters on Nobles Island sits in one of the most highly visible locations at the entrance of Portsmouth’s Historic District, it’s a tourist magnet and a visitors center few drivers into Portsmouth can ignore, and a period “modern” 1980’s style building– in the Historic District– originally designed to be cedar-shingled. So why fight to coat it with plastic?

The Chamber has been pushing the issue since December. You’ll find the latest wood vs. plastic debate starting around 25 mins :

1 thought on “Chamber Crusade for Plastic Shingles Amazes Many

  1. Toby Hatchett

    I have never considered the Cof C to be presentative of Portsmouth or any locality. They are a partisan, members-only, business advocacy/lobbying group.. The fact that we as taxpayers allow the city of Portsmouth to pay CofC to “promote tourism” is suspect at best.
    The further fact that they have no shame , intelligence or sensitivity to design is obvious here. Yes, plastic. What’s the difference? The city should not give this organization to promote their own causes. It is shameful.


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