Economic Development & Planning

Welcome to Economic Development and Planning.  

We are here to support our local businesses.  Let us be your point person to navigate Town Hall. We can also connect you with our Southbridge Business Partnership ambassadors.  

Have a project you're considering for your commercial or residential building?  Stop in and we can review it with you, or review our Permitting Guide for details.

What's new?  

Our ARPA Loan Program is now available to commercial property owners in the downtown.  To learn more go to: ARPA Loan Application

Check out Southbridge's Civil Space to view our latest project.

Want to get to know a little about Southbridge?

• We are science. We are home to the Southbridge Tech Incubator (STI), the only technology incubator in Southern Worcester County. STI's economic development goal is to provide low-cost space for sciences and lab work in a part of Central Mass that is underserved by entrepreneurial activities, and to promote the establishment of startups, pretty exciting.

• We are reinventing our old New England manufacturing spaces. Home to the once largest optical company in the country, employing over 6,000 people at its peak, the American Optical Company (AO), now Southbridge Hotel and Conference, is a state of the art hotel facility that hosts weddings and corporate events, the Southbridge Innovation Center, with its co-generation plant, manufacturing and office spaces, and the new mill housing development projects creating over 165 new units.

• We are cutlery, with two manufacturers still working to provide cutlery and tools worldwide at Dexter Russell and Hyde, both here in Southbridge since the 1800s.

• We still do optics, with international corporations such as Schott North America, home to SCHOTT’s Lighting and Imaging business unit for the United States, a key US manufacturing facility that specializes in design and manufacture of fiber optic and LED products for defense, medical and industrial applications.

 We do other forms of glass, with one upcycling glass company relocating into Town as we speak.

• We are healthcare, with the largest employer in Town, Harrington Hospital, recently being acquired by UMASS Memorial.

• We preserve our history, with our Optical Heritage Museum; check it out at:  Future plans here in Southbridge include a historic walking tour of our charming downtown.

• We are community. Whether it’s our Tri-Community Family Branch of the YMCA, the United Way of Southern Central MA, or the Center of Hope, with so many great social service agencies, we’re making a difference in the lives of our children, teenagers, and adults.

Why choose Southbridge:

We’re working hard to improve our schools, roads, sidewalks, and parks. We’re seeking funding at every level of government to help build a rail trail, modernize roads in our poorest neighborhoods, revamp our municipal airport runway, and luring new businesses into our beautiful historic downtown buildings.  Things are happening.  We hope you’ll join us.  Come invest, live, work, and play in this great community.