Officials discuss marketing Westborough
Westborough – A competitive business atmosphere that has seen neighboring Marlborough entice businesses such as TJX Companies, Inc. and the Boston Scientific Corporation to that city, ?has made Westborough officials determined to do the same. But just how that will be done, especially without the substantial marketing budget Marlborough has, will be a challenge, they admit.
At the Nov. 11 Westborough Economic Committee meeting (EDC), the members discussed a few possible options. It was noted that the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation is funded by a two percent surtax on the city's hotel rooms, which generates nearly $500,000 in revenue.
Westborough Town Manager Jim Malloy said a similar surtax in Westborough would probably not work as all revenues currently go into the town's general fund. Most new growth is allotted to the School Department and health insurance expenses, he said.
“The next four to five years are looking to be a very difficult budget process,” he added.
EDC chair Lester Hensley noted that a minimal operating budget had been established for the EDC several years ago; that money could possibly be used to pay for a part-time marketing person, he said, who could help the group focus on outreach and visibility.
The board agreed for the need to expand its Ambassador Program which Hensley said would have “members reach out to the community, thank them for being here and ask “what are your plans?””
“We need to tell them – we appreciate you and want you to stay here,” he added.
Tin Htway, the town's building commissioner, updated the board on several projects. The West Meadow Plaza is undergoing an $800,000 façade upgrade. As part of the project, the developer is working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to reconfigure the entrance to the plaza from Route 9 to make it an exit as well.
Initially, Htway said, the far left portion of the plaza where the Dunkin Donuts” is located,? and ?is owned by different developer, was not going to be renovated. Those owners have since changed their minds, Htway said, and that portion will now undergo a face-lift as well.
Other ongoing projects in town include: an XMart that is being constructed on Route 9; St. Mary's Credit Union, which has submitted plans for a new bank at the site of the former Friendly's Restaurant on Route 9; the so-called “transportation village,” which is being built by developer Toll Brothers on Smith Parkway, is near completion of its first stage; and the new Westborough retirement complex on East Main Street, which is near completion of the foundation work.
Two local businesses – Ameridose, LLC and A123 – were going through difficult times, Hensley noted.
Ameridose, which has the same owners as the New England Compounding Center (NECC) recently announced it will be laying off an estimated 650 employees. NECC, based in Framingham, has been at the center of a federal investigation this fall for allegedly not properly handling steroid injections. 424 people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis, and 31 have died as a result of the alleged tainted drugs. While no contaminated drugs have been found at Ameridose, the company nevertheless recalled all its products in October and agreed Oct. 10. to what they say they hope is only a temporary shutdown while federal investigators review the company's sterilizing protocols.
A123, an advanced battery maker based in Waltham, recently filed for bankruptcy protection. The company also has an office in Hopkinton as well as other U.S. and global offices.
Hensley noted that Westborough officials had reached out to executives at both companies to offer their support.
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