Mayor of Attleboro proposes pavilion for Highland Park | Local News

ATTLEBORO — In 2014, Attleboro was the second most boring municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and now Mayor Paul Heroux has suggested a way to change that.

On Tuesday, he asked the city council to take $750,000 from the city’s surplus account, otherwise known as “free cash”, to build a performing arts pavilion in Highland Park, near Rathbun Willard. Drive.

Heroux said the pavilion would be built for less than $450,000 and the rest would be for “the design contract and a contingency.”

In his bi-weekly communication to the board, Heroux said the “time” had come for the arts center.

“We have the money available to pay it now without a deposit, and the cost of construction is increasing every year, making it more expensive to build something anytime in the future than in 2022,” he said. declared.

The proposal comes after Attleboro posted a record $13.9 million surplus last fall for fiscal 2021.

General government surpluses are generally between $2 and $4 million.

Heroux said that even after the pavilion is built, the city will have enough money available to contribute more to the city’s stabilization fund on top of the record $800,000 it has already deposited.

The mayor noted that Attleboro was described as “one of the five most boring towns in the state” in a 2014 blog post.

Former Sun Chronicle reporter Rick Foster wrote the story.

“Movoto, (an) online real estate blog, ranked Attleboro just below #1 Leominster on the Bay State’s most boring communities list,” Foster reported, adding that the survey “has specifically noted a lack of local restaurants and lifestyle options”. Brockton placed third.

“There are many reasons to approve this request,” the mayor said in his letter to council. “There is a widely recognized need to improve cultural and artistic opportunities in Attleboro and to make Attleboro a better place to live. A performing arts pavilion would enrich our local economy. Access to the performing arts builds skills, self-confidence and self-esteem in young people.

The last outdoor performing arts building was a Hatch Shell type building similar to Boston’s on the Charles River Esplanade.

The shell was in Capron Park, but it didn’t last long.

According to Héroux, it was built in 1957 and demolished shortly after being condemned in 1974.

“Since then, the city has had a void that needs to be filled,” he said.

The mayor said the facility could have many uses.

“It’s something the city can rent out to bring in revenue for the city,” he said. “This would be used by the Attleboro Public Schools Performing Arts Department, leased by local dance, play, music and other performing arts businesses and organizations. It can also be part of the annual 4th of July celebration.

The pavilion would be located in a bowl-shaped area near the $1 million parking lot built for workers building the new $260 million high school, also on Rathbun Willard.

“This is an exceptional use of the property we acquired in 2018, while leaving over 99% of the land intact,” Heroux said.

The matter was referred to committee for discussion.

Highland Park is located on the 93-acre former Highland Country Club property, which stretches from Mechanic Street and Rathbun Willard.

The city bought the property in 2018 for around $3 million after the 117-year-old golf course went bankrupt.

George W Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.