Mansfield town manager William Ross said that he is speaking with members of the Cabot Business Park to help them form a Business Improvement District in the park.
Ross said that the district would allow the owners to “band together” to help improve the look and operation of the park.
“[I will be] sitting down with them to talk about some of the items of the strategic improvement plan, how it would impact them and other issues that might impact them,” he said.
Ross said that before, when one big company leased the park, that company would take care of such issues. But since the biggest lessee, Prologis, is now planning to sell off its property and move, Ross said the other owners have to work together to keep the park attractive and attentive to any changes the town may move forward with.
“They can band together,” he said. “They can raise funds and finance those kinds of activities… I’ll be setting up a meeting like that in the next couple of weeks.”
Ross said that 60 percent of the owners would have to agree to this and would get a number of votes based on the number of properties each business owns/leases and their income.
He added that the owners from the park would have the final say in all these matters and that the town can only help bring the district together and not interfere with businesses already there (or there int he future once the land has been leased).
Though Dr. John Mullins of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst said in the spring the business park was the “crown jewel” of the town, he said it needed some work.
“You have no choice,” he said. “The Cabot Business Park is Mansfield’s crown jewel, but it’s in need of polishing.”
According to Mansfield director of planning and development Shaun Burke, the income from the business park is more substantial and stable when a large company uses a good number of the buildings.
“The Cabot Business Park has been a large portion of our tax base for many many years,” he said.
Burke said that a major owner in the park is key for the town. When the park was first constructed, Cabot and Forbes built, owned and rented each space to other businesses, and were taxed on the property by the town as one business. In this way, Burke said, the town received a larger tax percentage on that one business than it would on the many smaller businesses housed in the park.
Burke also said that, because Cabot Forbes owned the park, it was more stable for the town, because if one of the renting businesses decides to move or goes under, the town would still collect the same amount of taxes. But Cabot Forbes sold off many of their assets and buildings, and the climate there is not as stable as before.
Ross said that helping the companies that will be there in the future would help the town substantially. He added that since he helped write a business improvement district law in South Dakota