Shrewsbury Candidate Statement – Select Board – James Brown


Shrewsbury Candidate Statement – Select Board – James Brown
James Brown

Please provide a brief biographical background on yourself. What should voters know about you?

I am a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury. I am a graduate of St John’s and Boston College. While attending BC, I was able to get my MA Real Estate Agents License and several years later my Broker’s license. After graduating from BC, I was a commodity trader for Lehman Brothers in Boston. I specialized in trading foreign currencies.  After several successful years, I opened Brown & Brown Real Estate, which is still running to this day. I am also Partner and General Contractor for National Home Executives.

I am deeply committed to Public Safety as I am an active Patrolman for the Town of Oakham. I have been active in Shrewsbury for many years. I have served on the Parks and Cemetery Commission for 16 years. The last three terms, I have been Chair. I was also on two Master Plan Committees.

Why are you running?

I have served the Town of Shrewsbury for 16 years on the Parks & Cemetery Commission, and various other affiliated Boards. Angela Snell and I, with the other Board Members introduced Cricket to Town. I was adamant if a Cricket Pitch was added that our youth who were not familiar with the game, would be educated on play. I also oversaw the addition of pickle ball, which has been immensely popular.

In regards to the Cemetery, I chaired the Board that introduced a columbarium for cremation internments to Mountain View.

We as a Town need a strong board, which will not waffle if negotiations get tough, or if a small few loudly voice disapproval. The Board should lead based on  what the majority of Shrewsbury Residents desire. We are entering a tough economic season. We need to be very mindful of our Senior’s who are on fixed budgets, yet also allow our Youth to flourish in a school system that fulfills all their needs.

The Beal school redevelopment is under consideration. What is your vision for downtown, and how does this project fit into this vision?

I think we can all agree that something needs to happen with the Beal property. My Company actually considered putting in a bid. We had an estimate of $450,000 to demo and dispose of the property. Our plan was a mixed use concept. We intended to put in storefronts and 16 condos on the second floor. We planned on setting the building back further from the street to give more visibility to the memorial. The reason we did not go forward was twofold, assuming the bids would have been much higher and other projects we decided to participate in. On that note, the number of apartments is excessive.  The proposed project could have a positive cash flow with fewer units and less stress to our Center.

Since we are talking the Center, I would like to see an architectural oversight board put in place. Quite a few of our buildings are under renovations, lets just try to have them blend together better.

There are a number of housing projects on the horizon in Shrewsbury. What specific criteria would you weigh when considering support for a project?

I would need to study the impact a new project would have on our Town infrastructure and services. Quite a few of these projects are being forced on us due to the Low Income threshold mandated by the Commonwealth. With that being said, we can still work with developers to lesson the impact said projects create. My extensive background in residential and commercial development makes me an ideal candidate for Selectboard.

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