As Bow's water development project nears completion, town officials are preparing to aggressively market the updated Route 3A corridor with hopes of having businesses interested when the system goes online this spring. Nearly 10 years after voters approved funding for the development, Town Manager David Stack said he is eager to see the project's original vision - of building industry and expanding Bow's tax base - become a reality.
"We're starting to get the word out that we're here," Stack said. "And we have water."
Stack said crews are expected to begin testing the newly laid water mains between Johnson and Vaughn Roads this winter, with the water supply ready for hookups in the spring. Since starting construction last November, the town has also begun work to replace the pump stations at Hall Street and River Road.
The project's original conception, which voters approved $12.5 million in funding for in 2002, also included installing a sewer system in the area. But in 2010 the selectmen realized the project's price tag had raised substantially and voted to shrink the sewer portion of the project, with crews laying some sewer pipes but not connecting them to the Hall Street pump station, according to Stack.
Stack said the town plans to finish the sewer expansion, which would cost about $3.5 million, in the future, but he added that demand will dictate that timeline.
To build development interest in the area, Stack said the town will soon unveil a new economic development section on its website, which will provide maps and site information to interested businesses.
Stephen Heavener, executive director of the Capital Regional Development Council, said he believes the area could be ideal for light manufacturing firms with about 50 employees. He said Bow has also identified a few locations where large distribution centers of up to 200,000 square feet could be built.
Heavener said he sees most outside growth coming from companies in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey that are looking to expand or move into a better tax environment. Heavener, who said the CRDC has acted as an economic development consultant to Bow for several years, noted that projects like this take substantial time to build. But he's hopeful between six and 12 developments, totaling $10 million to $20 million in investment, can be secured in the next five years.
While outside recruitment is an important part of that equation, Heavener and Stack both said growth of existing businesses should make up a majority of the area's new jobs in coming years.
For that reason, the town is also starting a substantial campaign to meet with every business in Bow and hear about any future expansion plans owners might have, Stack said.
"Your best source of new business is from an existing client," said Harry Judd, chairman of the board of selectmen. "We're doing that outreach, (asking) what we've done right what we could have done better and what we can do to make our business community grow."
Stack and Judd began those meetings this week and both said they hope to continue scheduling appointments with other businesses, with the ultimate goal of securing investments before the new water mains go online.
"We hope to get folks lined up so they'd be ready to rock and roll a soon as we have the water," Judd said.
(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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