Publisher's Note —
It's Just Good Business
It’s just good business
There’s been a lot of hoopla in Manchester lately about the 17-acre
site of the closed Jac Pac meat processing facility and its prime spot
along the Merrimack River.
In a deal disclosed a few weeks ago, the city has agreed to purchase
the land for $3.5 million, less than half its assessed value. Approval
from aldermen is expected, and the deal should close by the end of the
month. The land will be paid for by the city with money already in the
bank from the sale of other city properties. The land purchase isn’t
expected to have an impact on property taxes.
The city intends to study the property—a key tract just south of the
riverfront ballpark—to find the best role for it to play in the ongoing
redevelopment of Manchester’s riverfront. Some say city government has
no business doing a deal that takes land off the tax rolls. The
business of government isn’t business, they say.
Well, they’re wrong. In this day and age, the business of government is
business, and especially the business of economic development. Without
political leadership, key projects that drive the regional economy and
benefit us all just won’t happen.
So the Tyson land deal is another chance for Manchester’s government to
take an active role in the city’s future. Mayor Baines and the aldermen
supporting this purchase should be congratulated for long-range vision.
Also, critics fail to see this deal in its proper context. When Tyson
bought the plant just a few years ago, it accepted stewardship for more
than 500 jobs in our community. Last winter, when Tyson shut it down
with just 60 days notice, it recognized the need to help the city with
Fortunately, many former Jac Pac workers have already found work, and a
good system is in place for retraining others. But still, you don’t
remove 500 jobs from a local economy without an impact.
To its credit, Tyson recognized this, and agreed to sell the property
to the city for half its value. Granted, the deal was helped by
high-level prodding by the likes of U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, whose
personal calls got the attention of the executives in Tyson’s Arkansas
Now, the city can work with the business community to create something
of lasting value in which everyone wins—the city, the developers and
LLC | Manchester, NH