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Clark University and City Announce New Voluntary PILOT Agreement

For Immediate Release: 9/20/2010 1:46 pm

Worcester, MA (September 20, 2010) - Clark University (Clark) and the City of Worcester announced a new voluntary Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement today as a new chapter in their long-standing partnership. Clark’s commitment to make voluntary annual payments will directly support the Worcester Public Library and will enhance the Main South neighborhood to include University (Crystal) Park. The PILOT agreement is effective September 20, 2010, and will continue for 20 years.

Upon full implementation of the new accord, Clark will make voluntary annual payments to the City of approximately $262,000. This voluntary payment will increase by 2.5 percent annually over the next 20 years.

The agreement also forges a partnership to improve public safety and the continuity of the Clark campus, cooperatively pursuing the necessary approvals to discontinue a short section of Downing Street from Florence to Woodland Streets in order to create a pedestrian plaza for students and the neighborhood. This effort would coincide with the design and construction of the federally funded streetscape improvements for Maywood, Main, Downing and Beaver Streets to create a Main South "gateway." Contained within this annual amount, Clark will recognize this collaborative effort by the voluntary payment of over $1.5 million over the 20-year term upon securing all final City approvals for the discontinuance.

In total, these overall voluntary payments will amount to more than $6.7 million over the 20-year life of the agreement.

"Clark University is a tremendous partner, community asset and great neighbor in positive ways too numerous to mention, but I will – from supporting our public schools, to revitalizing Main South, to providing homeownership opportunities, to giving scholarships to our local students – and the list goes on and on from there," said City Manager Michael V. O’Brien. "This agreement builds upon our strong relationship and further affirms that our bright futures are tightly intertwined. I am very grateful to incoming President David Angel and the Board of Trustees."

As noted, these annual payments will be applied to support the operations of the Worcester Public Library and to undertake much-needed improvements to University (Crystal) Park. The dedication of a portion of these new revenues will allow the City to invest approximately $1.5 million within the park to be guided by a master plan to be developed with the assistance of the neighborhood and City stakeholders. These uses best align with Clark’s educational mission and its commitment to the Main South community.

"This agreement continues Clark’s long record of work with the city, and deepens the University’s already strong ties with the Main South neighborhood. We’re pleased to be entering into a new phase of mutual cooperation and growth with Worcester through this win-win proposition," Angel said.

"These are unique times that challenge us to find new and innovative ways to work together for the greater good. I wish to thank Clark University, on behalf of City Council, for rising to that challenge once again, on top of all the positives they already generate, to reach a win-win for the City, neighborhood and them," said Mayor Joseph O’Brien. "Great work by all."

Under the terms of the new agreement, 20 Clark-owned properties that qualify for the statutory exemption for educational use will be transitioned. Equally as important, the agreement outlines how properties that qualify for the statutory exemptions will be addressed in the future. It is also important to note that Clark currently pays $75,000 in annual property taxes in addition to this PILOT. This sum will continue to be paid into the city’s General Fund.

The voluntary payments are in addition to the varied contributions that Clark already makes to the community, especially in the Main South neighborhood. Among these are:

  • Providing the operational and financial support of the University Park Campus partnership with the Worcester Public Schools and the neighborhood revitalization efforts working with the Main South CDC and the city in the Kilby-Gardner-Hammond area.
  • Investing $2.5 million in the new playing fields to be constructed adjacent to the Boys and Girls Club on Tainter Street.
  • Providing University Park scholarships for neighborhood students.
  • Offering credit courses for University Park Campus School and Claremont Academy students.
  • Providing services and programs, free of charge, to Worcester Public Schools students, staff and faculty, as well as City of Worcester employees, annually. These include scholarships, credit courses and professional development support.

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