A win for all three towns
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and many local politicians and town officials were on hand last Thursday to celebrate the $2.2 million grant awarded the Town of Oxford by the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.
The grant, along with other incentives, means that IPG Photonics, the world’s top-ranked manufacturer of optical fiber-based lasers and headquartered in Oxford, will expand its facilities here and hire 175 additional permanent employees. The company had been wooed by developers in Connecticut to grow its business there. IPG Photonics plans an $18 million expansion.
The MassWorks grant will extend 3,300 feet of gravity sewer, starting at IPG Photonics on Old Webster Road, to the Dudley town line, then continue with 4,400 feet of force main on Old Oxford Road to the North Main Street bridge in Webster, and tie into the waste treatment facility there. The plan also includes a new pumping station.
The project is a win for Webster and Dudley as well as Oxford. Most immediately, Oxford’s IPG Photonics will benefit, along with the other businesses on Old Webster Road, Wilson Language Training Corp and Fabrico Inc. The sewer line will also serve more than 50 acres of land on the road zoned for light industrial development.
In Dudley, the project opens up the possibility for future development on Old Oxford Road. Developers will potentially be able to tie into the line, though a reverse gravity fed line from the bridge to the Oxford line would have to be built. Dudley Town Administrator Peter Jankowski projected a 2-5 year timeframe for such development.
For Webster, the project means additional customers for its greatly underutilized sewage treatment plant, potentially reducing residential sewer costs. This helps Dudley, too, as it has a 17% interest in the facility.
Lt. Governor Murray summed up the award as a great example of a public-private partnership supporting regional economic development. He applauded the efforts of the three towns involved in paving the way for future development and economic growth in the region. The Legislature has been a partner too in “demonstrating this can-do spirit,” he said.
The award was the culmination of a lot of behind-the-scenes work by Oxford town officials and Senator Richard T. Moore at the state level. Oxford had applied for the grant in September, but when it wasn’t awarded, he intervened. The problem was a balance of private versus public investment. When local businessman Dan Prouty of Delmar Realty, and owner of land on Old Webster Road, learned of the shortfall, he enlisted his neighbors and together they contributed $100,000 to the project. The Town of Oxford had also paid $160,000 for the design plans.
“This grant means jobs and tax revenues for Massachusetts,” said Senator Moore. “Its potential for keeping industry in this state is what makes this such an important project.” Senator Moore had traveled all night from Tel Aviv to be at the presentation.
Jennie L. Caissie, Chair of the Oxford Board of Selectmen, accepted the award for the town. She said, “This is an important day for Oxford and for our sister towns of Webster and Dudley. Water and sewer infrastructure are fundamentally important to the health, safety and prosperity of any community.”
Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, CEO and founder of IPG Photonics, also addressed the audience. He said that “IPG has shown that the Town of Oxford and Central Massachusetts can be the home of global companies in high technology. Despite what you hear in the press about growing imports in the US, IPG has grown its export business substantially over the last few years, including exporting much more to China than we buy from China.
IPG now employs over 600 employees in Massachusetts, Dr. Gapontsev said, and they are high paying, technical jobs. “The commitment to improve the infrastructure on Old Webster Road by the Towns of Oxford, Dudley and Webster together with the assistance of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, show again the pro-business environment here in Massachusetts.”
The project has a short timeline, but it’s well underway. Thomas D. Jenkins, Sr. Vice President of the engineering firm Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, said that the surveying has started, dig safe has completed its work, and the process of drilling bore holes has begun. The bore holes will determine ledge or other problems that may present themselves during construction, and that could add to costs. All of this is straightforward. The most challenging part of the project, he said, “will be bringing the line over the bridge and under the railroad tracks.”
The grant requires that the project be “shovel ready” in April and be completed by October.
IPG’s expansion plans are for a 101,500 square foot research, development, and manufacturing space and 175 new full time jobs. The company was also approved by the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council for $1.7 million in tax credits. Additionally, the Town of Oxford approved $431,505 in tax increment financing (TIF).
The expansion is expected to increase IPG’s annual corporate excise, payroll and sales tax payments to the state by more than 50% and to expand its spending on products and services from Massachusetts suppliers by 25%.
- Friday, 13 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Region