Economic Impact of Patriots Nation on Foxborough

During the nearly 17-year Super Bowl run, the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, and the New England Patriots have been a team for tremendous successes both on and off the field.

But with all the winning, the quiet bedroom community of 17,000 tries to maintain the right balance, especially when faithful fans trek to town to witness football royalty.

In a light-hearted feature, the New York Times earlier this month asked, "How did out of the way, small-town Foxborough, of all places, come to be synonymous with heartache in NFL cities from coast to coast while blossoming into a shrine to comprehensive Patriots glory?"

Foxborough Town Manager William Keegan says they've planned for this success by hitching a lot of their recent success to the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Keegan says a portion of ticket sales, taxes generated by the Patriots, and charitable donations made by the team to Foxborough have injected millions of dollars into the local economy -- as well as lots of goodwill.

Roughly 25 miles from Boston, Foxborough is also starting to attract interest and investment from business start-ups and the medical industry. The question looms, what if the dynasty starts to crumble?

"There's enough success built around this organization, that they've developed over the last 15 to 20 years," said Keegan. "This will linger for a long, long time to come."

But go beyond the frenzy of game day and you'll find a typical New England town square where there are growing families, solid schools and the latest data showing more than 20 percent of the town is made up of senior citizens.

Richard and Jeanne Mitchell have lived in town for almost 50 years and say the identity of the area is more than just football, and they want to keep it that way.

"It eventually might dwindle if the cost of living goes up," said Richard Mitchell.

State Representative Jay Barrows says with so many new opportunities, town leaders also need to find ways to keep housing affordable.

"No one should be left behind," said Barrows. "Everyone needs a place to live."

While most of the moves have been well-received, historians Jack Authelet and Mark Ferencik remember the time the partnership between the Patriots and Foxborough nearly took a hit.

More than seven years ago, Kraft and casino mogul Steve Wynn tried to add a gambling hall and hotel across the street from Gillette Stadium.

"But it was pretty well not liked in town. I want to say defeated 3-1 or 4-1, something like that," said Ferencik.

After lessons learned, the challenge moving forward for this community is maintaining that right balance of success on and off the field.

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