Losing Sight of A Gift Of Indian Hill Music Center

This letter was in the Groton Herald week 12/1/17, it is a must read and clarifies a few details that were left out of the Indian Hill permitting discussion. 

Losing Sight Of The Gift Of Indian Hill Music Center

Thu, 11/30/2017 – 4:48pm Heraldgroton
To the Editor,
With all the recent mudslinging, we seem to have lost sight of the gift that the Music Center at Indian Hill will be. An enhanced music education experience for our students. A recital and concert hall with world-class acoustics. An amazing resource for our community!
The new Music Center will also be an economic boon to Groton. Stephen Sheppard, Professor of Economics at Williams College, is a nationally respected expert on this topic. The BSO asked him to analyze the impact of Tanglewood on the Berkshires. His research is reported in a May 15, 2017 Boston Globe article: “The Tanglewood summer music festival brings in more than $103 million in economic activity to the Berkshires each year – up 70 percent from 2008 estimates.” Lenox alone benefits from over $40 million annually.
While Tanglewood accommodates 5,000 people in the shed and 12,000 – 15,000 on the lawn, Indian Hill’s maximum capacity will be 1,000 in the concert hall and 1,300 on the lawn. If Groton were to realize even 1% of the economic benefit that Lenox derives from Tanglewood, it would equate to $400,000. What if it were 10%? That’s $4 million, annually for Groton.
According to this study, approximately 1,200 jobs were created. Meals and rooms taxes in Lenox exceeded $2 million in 2016. Visitors bought second homes; property taxes on second homes alone generate $13 million per year in Lenox and surrounding towns.
Lenox brought in needed revenue while retaining the character of the Town. The impact on the taxpayers is quantifiable – residential taxes in Lenox cover only 77% of the total tax levy for the Town. In Groton, residential taxes must cover 94% of the Town budget. Taxes from local economic development have made the difference.
Professor Sheppard also analyzed 20 years of data on 380 metropolitan areas in the US. The study says “There is a long-run positive relationship between the output of cultural organizations and the local economic output per capita.”
Maybe this scholar’s words sound dry, but to me, they are exciting. Visitors staying at the Groton Inn, dining at our restaurants, paddling the Nashua River or hiking our trails. Job creation! Millions of dollars in new taxes that we can spend on our schools, our seniors, a community center, and our police, firefighters and other critical Town services. Pretty exciting, wouldn’t you say?
Note that Indian Hill Music is also paying 100 percent of the road improvement costs at Prescott Park. Selectman Josh Degen estimated this gift to be in excess of $350,000.
For the record, neither my husband nor I receive any financial benefit from Indian Hill Music, not even a free ticket to an orchestra concert. Groton residents may wonder why we would endure such vicious attacks on our character with no financial reward. The answer is simple: We believe that bringing this amazing music center to Groton will enhance our students’ music education experience and put Groton on the map as a cultural destination.
In this cynical age, it may seem suspicious to have charitable intentions, but that truly is all we ever wanted and we intend to see it through.
Submitted by:
Carole Prest
Chairman of the Board, Indian Hill Music