By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY —The town’s economic development expert hopes the town will bank on a prime piece of real estate.
Stuart Arnett of the Concord-based Arnett Development Group is seeking ways for Londonderry to grow. He came back before town councilors Monday night to give an update on his ideas.
That includes a potential plan to put a tax-increment financing district, TIF, into place. That’s a mechanism for paying off debt from a new infrastructure with future tax revenue.
Town councilors agreed that a TIF would be good for Londonderry.
A key location would be the $8 million Pettengill Road project corridor near the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, an area rich for development and eyed by many as a top spot for economic growth.
Earlier this year, the Town Council approved bringing Arnett on board as a contractor to help the town’s planning department with economic development goals and projects.
In August, Arnett gave the group its first look at his TIF proposal.
Getting the Pettengill Road project up and running with expanded infrastructure and roads would help bring in business.
That area has been on the town’s radar for many years as a potential gold mine for development and economic success. The project could open up 1,000 acres near Manchester-Boston Regional Airport for development and could create upwards of 10,000 jobs.
Putting a TIF into place there would be a positive tool, Arnett said, especially when infrastructure, a successful tax base and job growth are needed.
Derry put a TIF in place to support a major road expansion project on Manchester Road from the intersection of Tsienneto Road up past Ashleigh Drive.
Arnett once worked as a contractor for the town of Derry and is now banking on Londonderry for similar success with a TIF plan.
Voters in town would have to approve any bonding amount at the polls in March for a future development plan.
Council agreed Pettengill holds a lot of potential.
“We’re trying to bring in more revenue,” Town Councilor Jim Butler said. “We have to look outside the box. Success comes with some risk. We’re not the frontrunner here. (If we don’t) do something like this, we’ll continue to take a back seat.”
Town Manager Kevin Smith said surrounding communities are reaping the economic rewards of bringing new businesses in because they have the right plan in place. Some of these businesses might have considered Londonderry.
“The longer we wait, the more opportunities we’ll miss out on,” he said.