Week in Review: How Much Snow Did Foxborough Get? No Electric Signs on Town Common & More
A recap of this week's top local headlines from March 2-8.
Miss anything in Foxborough this week? Here's your chance to sit back and catch up on some Patch. Below is a recap of this week’s biggest headlines on Foxborough Patch:
The pursuit of electric signs on Foxborough's Town Common ended Tuesday night when Foxborough Lion Bob Russell withdrew the organization's proposal per the Board of Selectmen's request.
"I have no objections to withdrawing the project," Russell said in response to Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis' request Tuesday. "[The Foxborough Lions] will maintain the signs as we said and we will not come back to the community asking for any financial support."
Russell assured officials the Lions will continue to support repairing the signs and will further research what can be done to maintain the 17-year-old message boards.
"I do know some of the things we have to do but I will go back and re-investigate that and take what actions have to be taken to repair and maintain it," Russell said.
Selectmen were relieved.
"I appreciate everything that the Lions do," said selectman Lynda Walsh. "I am grateful for all the work [Russell did] but the project still needs some work. I was grateful to hear the Lions will look into just repairing the signs."
The decision to withdraw the project came after Town Historian Jack Authelet spoke passionately against the installation of electric signs on Town Common.
National Grid, in an informational video, has revealed details to its short and long-term plans to address Foxborough’s problem with power outages.
The plan, according to Ryan Constable, National Grid Distribution Asset Manager, calls for reinforcement of the sub-transmission Union Loop system by increasing wire size and establishing a new connection point for Foxborough.
“New connection point [will be established] for a new source of power in North Foxborough,” Constable said. “When we have this new source of power we will be able to reduce distribution distances and reduce the exposure for the customers in the north and eastern portions of the area and improve the reliability.”
The wire size increase on existing wood poles is expected to be completed in the next 1-4 years, according to Constable, while establishing Foxborough’s new power source will likely take 5-8 years to complete.
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Did anyone see this coming?
The slow moving, two-day storm was originally expected to drop just 3 to 5 inches of snow in the Foxborough area but an updated forecast Thursday morning showed accumulation could total closer to 6 to 7 inches. As of Thursday night, that forecast was increased to 10 to 14 inches before the storm's conclusion Friday.
Didn't happen that way.
Meteorologists were left scrambling to update weather maps and snowfall totals while the snow continued to pile up in Foxborough. The Gem of Norfolk County was once again smack dab in the middle of a storm.
WHDH meteorologist Pete Bouchard reported Thursday night Foxborough was part of the "Mini Snow Jackpot" to hit the state, accumulating more than seven inches with an additional four to eight expected overnight.
Foxborough certainly got hammered into Friday morning, amassing a total of 15 inches of snow by 8 a.m., which forced schools to close for the day.
For those in Foxborough still concerned the Kraft Group has not scrapped gaming development plans for a Route 1 casino, the company’s vice president of business development and external affairs has a message for you.
“We have no desire, no intentions, no plans to bring gaming development to Foxborough,” said Dan Murphy, vice president of Kraft Group’s Business Development and External Affairs. “We have moved on and we are exploring options right now for that parcel.”
The question regarding the potential for a casino proposal resurfacing in future Kraft plans was posed by Foxborough selectman Lynda Walsh Tuesday during a general development discussion of Patriot Place between the board and the Kraft Group.
“There’s an elephant still in the room and it’s still in town,” Walsh said. “Could the [Kraft Group] tell me there’s no casino in the future of Patriot Place? … I’m out there trying to get votes to come back to this table and that’s the first question people are still asking me, ‘did you want a casino?’”
Murphy offered Walsh and the public audience the same answer the Kraft Group has given the town on several occasions since it suspended plans with Wynn Resorts for a casino last May.
“We said it in May, we said it in October, we said it in December,” Murphy said. “Mr. Kraft has said it. We brought a business development opportunity to the town. It had a world-class business partner with it. We said from the beginning if the town didn’t want it, we wouldn’t pursue it.”
With an unprecedented commitment to public safety and alcohol management, Patriot Place is operating well below the development’s expected public safety impact in Foxborough, according to a performance analysis presented by Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley.
“For a development of Patriot Place’s size and significant food and beverage business our tenants generate, these are significantly smaller public safety incidents relative to what other developments of this size are experiencing,” Earley said of the public safety data presented at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
Earley and Dan Murphy, the Kraft Group's Vice President of Business Development and External Affairs, were invited to Tuesday’s board meeting to discuss Patriot Place’s performance to date and where the development was in relation to the town’s revenue and public safety projections from the 2006-07 Koff Report.
“Goal of presentation was to give a little perspective in what I consider to be a perception vs. reality gap regarding Patriot Place and most specifically public safety,” Earley said.
The data presented Tuesday showed Patriot Place outperformed revenue projections in fiscal year 2012 by 50 percent while operating under 75 percent of the expected public safety impact.
Despite a challenging retail and commercial real estate environment created by the worst economic downturn in decades, Patriot Place has exceeded Foxborough’s revenue projections outline in the 2006-07 Koff Report, according to Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley.
“Current annual direct revenue to Foxborough from Patriot Place is 50 percent above the Koff projections,” Earley said. … “We are extremely proud the revenues paid to Foxborough are well ahead of projections despite not being at full build out/lease out.”
The dining, shopping and entertainment complex is currently contributing over $3 million annually in direct revenue to the town, which is roughly $1 million more than the Koff Report’s projection at full build out.
Earley presented these figures in a performance analysis of Patriot Place presented to Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen Tuesday. In the report, Earley said total guest visits at Patriot Place over the course of 2012 were roughly 1.8 million.
Of the $3 million in revenue currently generated from Patriot Place, roughly $2 million comes from real estate taxes, according to Earley. The next largest revenue source from Patriot Place is the hotel occupancy tax generated from the Renaissance Hotel. The third largest revenue source is the restaurant meals tax, which was roughly $325,000 in fiscal year 2012.
The town also collects $140,000 annually from Patriot Place for public safety supplement.
Brigham and Women’s / Mass General at Patriot Place is expanding its world class health care center to offer more primary care and specialty clinics in Foxborough.
“Biggest demand the health care center has is for primary care and that is where they are focusing [the expansion project] for primary care and some other specialty clinics,” said Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley.
Earley said Brigham’s expansion project will take place on the third floor of the health care center with phase I of the project expected to be completed in June.
“Third floor was never fully built out and Brigham had an option on that and exercised that option because they needed to expand,” Earley said.
More recently, the health care center expanded its Saturday hours to open at 8 a.m. and handle the increased demand on weekends, according to Earley.
Earley said Brigham and Women’s / Mass General Health Care Center has made a significant impact to Foxborough and the surrounding communities it serves because it provides everything from day surgery to primary care and urgent care.
Jack and his father, Ezio Toursiello, have been working together at Antonia’s in Foxborough for about a decade.
Jack said they’ve been doing great work with their restaurant.
“Antonia’s started with my mother, Antonia,” he said. “It started as a part-time job, working for the previous owners. We bought it about a year later.”
Toursiello said his father started Antonia’s in 1999, and he came on full-time after college in 2003. During school, he worked in an office job.
“I didn’t have enough time not to like it,” he said.
Toursiello recalled cooking was a very important part of his family’s life while growing up.
“We never ate out and we were always very involved in food,” he said. “My mom was a stay-at-home mom at the time and I picked up a lot of stuff.”
Toursiello said while many folks from Foxborough and Mansfield come to the restaurant, the biggest work they do is catering for over 50 companies in the Mansfield and Foxborough industrial parks.
"We are hoping to have [Cupcake Charlie's] open for April vacation," said Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley. "They are going to be on the fast track of their build out. The building permit is all taken care of. It's not an overly aggressive build out so they are shooting for April."
April vacation in Foxborough is April 15-19.
The bakery will be located in the North Marketplace at 262 Patriot Place.
The Foxborough Police Department is searching for a black male described as “tall with a small build” who allegedly was with Charlese A. Townes, 19, of Attleboro during an attempted fraud/larceny of $25,000 from TD Bank in Foxborough on Feb. 14.
Foxborough police arrested Townes shortly after the Feb. 14 incident and charged her with attempted larceny over $250. Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary said his department had been working with secret service on the regional counterfeit check scheme allegedly involving Townes. O’Leary said Townes was also charged in North Attleboro.
The black male allegedly with Townes during the larceny/fraud attempt in Foxborough was also involved in another attempt on the same day at a TD Bank in East Providence
As food pantries across the region are seeing more and more people in need, a report released last week said about one in seven people in Massachusetts could not afford to put food on the table last year.
The report, released by the Food Research and Action Center, a non-profit that looks to wipe out hunger and malnutrition in the United States, said that 15 percent of people in Massachusetts - about one in seven people - did not have enough money to buy food that they or their family needed at some points in 2012.
This week, Patch reached out to food pantries who serve the communities of Walpole, Foxborough, Dedham, Norwood, Sharon and Stoughton who all reported a spike in the number of people they serve within the past few years.
Cheryl Hixon of the Foxborough Food Pantry said the town's pantry helps feed about 450 people a month, about 3 percent of the town. That number has seen a slight increase.
“I do think it’s probably a bigger problem that most people realize,” Hixon said. “We’re a lucky town. We can feed those 3 percent pretty easily. If it ever went up to 15 we’d be in big trouble."
Foxborough residents are among the most well-educated in the nation, according to real estate data compiled by NeighborhoodScout.com.
According to the report, 40.65 percent of adults in Foxborough have a bachelor’s degree or even advanced degree, whereas the average U.S. city has 21.84 percent holding at least a bachelor's degree.