Brockton leaders outline plan to finance purchase of old fairgrounds


BROCKTON — You know when you lose at a carnival game like ball toss and feel cheated? City officials say they can get control of the fairgrounds with a plan that won’t leave taxpayers feeling like marks.

Brockton is considering buying the 65-acre former fairgrounds for about $55 million from the Carney family. City leaders say they’d create a master plan with input from residents, then sell the parcels for a variety of uses. They argue this approach would let Brockton shape what gets built on the largest undeveloped site left in the city.

On Monday, Mayor Robert F. Sullivan’s administration laid out how to pay for it. The city would take on temporary debt to finance the $55M. Chief Financial Officer Troy Clarkson said the city could get the money at 3.5% interest, with a goal of hanging onto it for no more than five years before selling to developers.

Dickie, the 8-year-old, 15-and-a-half-foot giraffe looks over the fairgrounds from his specially-built trailer at the Brockton Fair. The animal is part of the Robert W. Commerford petting zoo, one of the 1986 fair features. 
(photo by Stanley A. Bauman)

In the first year, taxpayers would owe $1.9M in interest. Against that chalk up $1.6M in rent to be paid by tenants like National Grid and the Brockton Visiting Nurse Assoc. That’d put the cost to taxpayers at about $300,000 in the first year. Clarkson said in this scenario, the city’s first interest payment would be due on July 1, 2024.

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