The Bourne Financial Development Corporation (BFDC) is the Town’s economic development agency. Its mission is: to promote the common good and general welfare of the Town of Bourne and to improve the living standards of its citizens by fostering the improvement of employment and educational opportunities.
Established by vote of Bourne Town Meeting and an act of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in late 2000, the BFDC is subject to and generally has the powers and privileges conferred by the provisions of chapter 180 of the General Laws. The act assigns a number of powers to the organization so that it can accomplish its mission. The BFDC is also an IRS 501(c)(3) organization.
It operates with a Board of Directors, partially appointed by the Town’s Selectmen. BFDC Members are Bourne citizens and people from the region who are interested in the welfare of the town.
Activities: Redeveloping Bourne’s Downtown
The Town's Local Comprehensive Plan points to Buzzards Bay Village as a target for redevelopment, with the goal to ". . . revitalize Main Street in Buzzards Bay in accordance with an accepted comprehensive plan." Shortly after incorporation, a Directors planning retreat identified the revitalization of Buzzards Bay as the organization’s main project.
It began by identifying a series of impediments to involvement by potential investors and developers:
- Dual regulatory process
- Limited wastewater treatment capacity
- Flood zone restrictions/added expense
- Traffic and transportation challenges
- Lack of clear architectural, site guidelines
- Unknowns - appropriate density, viable commercial types
The BFDC undertook a series of actions designed to overcome these issues. Grants from the state’s budget, with thanks to the Town’s legislative delegation, supported the development of a comprehensive vision plan. Then the BFDC’s Main Street Steering Committee (MSSC) supported the Town as it put in place many tools to create an environment that would be welcoming to investors.
With the active support of the BFDC, various Town Meetings adopted 1) a Downtown Zoning District to facilitate mixed use, greater density (four stories by right, and other smart growth principles, 2) Architectural and Sign Guidelines and Standards, and 3) an Anti-Blight By-law.
Also with the MSSC’s involvement, the Cape Cod Commission approved the Town’s application for a Growth Incentive Zone in April 2012, removing one level of permitting and expense for potential developers. The Board of Sewer Commissioners endorsed a two-phase project that would expand wastewater management capacity and, with endorsement from the BFDC, the Town voted to join the MBTA, an act that will bring commuter rail to Downtown.
The MSSC was asked to undertake a project to restore and upgrade the Town park on Main Street. Supported by Community Preservation Act funds, the project dramatically upgraded and enhanced the park, adding a play area and a pavilion for events and gatherings.
Keystone Place, a senior living community that opened in May 2015, was the first project in Bourne’s Downtown to take advantage of the Growth Incentive Zone. The BFDC worked closely with the developer and the Town to ensure a successful project. And the BFDC worked with a developer to secure land where the new 100-room hotel has recently opened.