Southbridge has witnessed a continuing relative decline in property values.
Southbridge has experienced a steady decline in the number and variety of businesses in the community.
Now, by a significant margin, we know that Southbridge has the highest rate of unemployment in Worcester County.
In 1978-79 The National Civic League named Southbridge one of ten All-American Cities.
What has happened in the intervening 36 years? Many will point to the 1982 sale of The American Optical Company to M&R, while others will argue that it began with the company’s acquisition by Warner Lambert in 1967.
Others claim that the town’s problems changed with the transition from a town meeting to a manager/council form of government in 1973.
Then there is the popular, and misleading, belief that all that is wrong is our attitude. If we would just stop the negative talk everything would get better.
I believe that the real problem is a confluence of factors. It is an interaction of government structure, social fragmentation and lack of policy priorities.
Ultimately ii is a reflection of Shakespeare’s line from Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”.
What do you think is needed to restore Southbridge to being a positive and growing town?