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Rolling out a welcome mat

Partnership encourages home buying in Southbridge

Town officials hope a new home-buying plan gives this sign new meaning to potential owners. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
October 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The town has joined forces with local businesses to achieve a mutual goal — buying a home in the community.

The new "Make Southbridge Home" campaign, which was unveiled Monday during a Town Council meeting, is intended to entice people to buy a home here. The program pairs potential homebuyers with local banks to find the best loans. Eventually, it will also provide listings for additional services, such as real estate attorneys, buyers will need. The program's primary promotional tool, its Website, has been created, but not yet officially launched — but will be soon — according to Rose Cournoyer, who works in the town's planning and development department. She helped develop the program not under the auspices of her town job, but on her own time, she said. Work on the program started a year ago, Cournoyer said.

"The goal is for them to give some sort of an incentive for people to buy in Southbridge and for people to go with [participants] for the business," Cournoyer said.

So far, those involved in the effort are confident it can succeed and greatly benefit the community. Southbridge Savings Bank Vice President of Retail Lending Lora Baldracchi, whose company is part of the program, said it should help attract homebuyers to purchase foreclosed homes. That, she said, means the bank will offload the property, which doesn't make them money, from its books and back onto the town's tax rolls.

"That's good for the town," she said. "We do believe that strongly in the program in the town of Southbridge."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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