MIDDLEBORO — A group of local officials is working informally to develop a website designed to collect data on the town’s tourism resources and take advantage of opportunities available through the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism.
Selectwoman Leilani Dalpe, Community Development Director Jane Kudcey and Middleborough on the Move President Judith Bigelow-Costa made a presentation to selectmen Monday night based on their research into state and national tourism efforts.
“Middleboro is currently not even on the map,” Ms. Dalpe said of the map created by the state tourism office.
She said the state is working to attract more international visitors to the state, and Middleboro should be part of the effort.
In 2011 there were 2.1 million international visitors to Massachusetts, according to the state agency. They tend to stay longer and spend more money than visitors from within the U.S. During the year that was studied, the visits supported 18,000 jobs, brought in $138 million in local and state taxes and generated $2.3 billion in revenue, according to the state.
Ms. Dalpe said Middleboro can get publicity and media services for “almost nothing” through the state tourism office.
As a first step, the local group has developed a website called discovermiddleboro.com where it will present local attractions and businesses. Businesses and organizations, and individuals with information on local attractions, are asked to contribute information for the website.
Ms. Kudcey said information can be submitted to her through the town Office of Economic and Community Development website, middleboroughoecd.com, by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling her office at 508-946-2402.
Ms. Bigelow-Costa listed some of the town resources that would lend themselves to tourism, including the Pratt Farm and Soule Homestead, local museums, Oliver Mill Park, the architecture of the downtown commercial and residential district and historic sites. Selectman Ben Quelle said the town should also promote its cranberry bogs, as the crop is so unique that visitors always ask about it, while others pointed to historic cemeteries and opportunities for genealogists to do research here, as well as the fact that Middleboro’s herring run is one of the best on the east coast.
In other action Monday night, the Green Energy Committee reported on a successful effort to help the Council on Aging save money on heating bills and electricity.
The committee has completed an initial survey of town buildings and is now undertaking specific projects. Jeff Stevens, chairman of the group, explained that a focus on the COA determined that heat loss from problems with the attic insulation and air handlers in the building has resulted in heating bills that are three times what they should be in a commercial building the size of the Plymouth Street multi-service center.
With assistance from committee member Steven Bonfiglioli, who is a builder, the group devised a solution and obtained a $10,000 grant from the Peirce Trustees to pay for materials to create a “heat barrier” in the building. The group also enlisted students from Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School to do the work, saving an estimated $50,000, Mr. Stevens said. The students also replaced outdated flourescent bulbs and ballasts.
Mr. Stevens said the committee is predicting the COA will save about $8,000 annually on natural gas bills and another $3,000 in electricity.