Town to use ARPA funding for business initiatives

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North Attleborough Town Hall

By Adam Bass-abass@northstarreporter.com

In a move to help grow businesses, the North Attleborough Town Council is seeking to allocate $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a brand new initiative.

The council, on Aug. 22, voted 8-0 on a memo seeking to apply funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create the North Attleborough New Business initiative (NANBI).

The memo was referred to the Economic Development and Finance subcommittees, which will review the measure on Sept. 26. If approved, the memo will be brought back to the council for a final vote.

In a document submitted to the Town Council, Town Manager Michael Borg states the goal of NANBI is to create partnerships with business collaboratives to encourage more economic growth in the town.  The manager writes that it will be an incubator for business opportunities along with industrial and commercial development.

“New growth is essential to the future of North Attleborough,” wrote Borg. “New growth above and beyond property tax can only come from new developments, industrial manufacturing, commercial enterprises, and new business opportunities in town.”

Under ARPA, the town of North Attleborough received $8 million in funds. Some projects that received funding include repairs to the Allen Avenue School and a previous small business  revitalization project dubbed “Big Red Bucks.”

In his letter about NANBI, Borg writes the funding from ARPA will be a one-time payment, and the initiative will have to seek other means of obtaining money from different sources.

“NANBI will seek other funding opportunities for new growth development,” Borg writes. “These funding opportunities include, but are not limited to public-private partnership funding, grant funding, private funding, and Congressional and State Earmark funding.”

A goal of NANBI will also be to create partnerships with different institutions to foster business growth.  Some potential partnerships include the Emerald Square Mall, local banks, and regional schools, such as Tri-County Vocational High School in Franklin and Wheaton College in Norton.

Details about how NANBI will function or how it will create collaboratives have not been finalized.

Council President Justin Pare said the subcommittee will need to consider how the $100,000 should be distributed and create a plan for businesses to be part of the proposed plan.

“The town is trying to be creative in finding ways to drive up economic growth,” Pare said.  “There will be a good conversation at the Economic Development and Finance subcommittees to hash out all the details for this initiative.”