By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to the revitalization of some town-owned parcels, Town Manager Michael Borg said that getting the word out will be one of the most important steps.
At the Jan. 25 Town Council meeting, discussion continued on the possible re-use of some parcels owned by North Attleborough. Much of the 300-plus acres already have a purpose, such as the schools and municipal buildings, while others are protected by the Conservation Commission. But some of the land could be re-developed, whether for housing or business, and in the coming months the town will commence an in-depth review of these parcels.
Borg said that developing a clear message and reaching out to companies looking to expand will be part of the process. With COVID-19 vaccinations proceeding, Borg added that businesses will be searching for new opportunities, and the town needs to be in a position to offer them.
“We’re going to honor our commitments with Conservation and make smart choices,” he said. “But there are options for development and we should pursue that.”
As part of the communication strategy, Borg said the town’s web site will need some work done so that information is readily available and easy to find. This also includes current business owners acting as ambassadors for North Attleborough.
Town Councilor Michael Lennox has seen iterations of this plan before, though Borg’s offers some new aspects. He said that a strategy is key, that the town cannot simply cherry-pick the sites. He added that some parcels are land-locked and lack any access, which would make development a challenge.
“It comes back to a plan where the pieces are all tied together,” said Lennox.
Another part of the process, said Borg, is to analyze the sites and determine what work needs to be done. The Curtois property has been eyed for redevelopment, but the land is contaminated and needs to be cleaned. He mentioned the Emerald Square Mall—which is now in receivership—and that North Attleborough has to have a seat at the table to discuss its future.
Town Councilor Darius Gregory chairs the Economic Growth and Sustainability Subcommittee, one of the groups that will be involved in the study of the properties. He said he sees a lot of opportunities in the list of parcels and would like to centralize the process.
“Some are long-term and some are short,” he said of the sites.