1970s – Rising to Early Challenges
LIDC formed as a for-profit industrial development corporation in the 1950s and began work to recruit employers to Littleton. Activity on this front slowed in the 1960s, but when two factories closed their doors in the early 1970s, putting 700 area residents out of work, LIDC ramped up its efforts. Local business leaders active in the Chamber of Commerce’s economic development subcommittee approached LIDC and persuaded them to transfer their name, purpose and resources to a restructured non-profit entity, which allowed LIDC to apply for government grants.
LIDC officers quickly realized that in order to attract new industry to Littleton, they’d need to first develop the property and infrastructure required to operate businesses. They set out to develop an industrial park. A measure to appropriate $15,000 to complete a feasibility study on where to best locate an industrial park passed by one vote, in a secret ballot, at the 1973 town meeting. Eventually, working with the Littleton board of selectmen, LIDC selected a site accessible to low-cost electricity and municipal water and sewer.
In 1974, LIDC purchased the Littleton Industrial Park’s original 108-acre property for $68,000. Funding came from a federal Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) grant of $45,000 and a community fund drive, which raised $23,000.
A year later, Burndy Corporation, then headquartered in Connecticut and with another plant in nearby Lincoln, NH, agreed to locate a new facility in Littleton. LIDC worked to build the necessary infrastructure to the site, and in 1976 Burndy opened a 120,000-square-foot building on a 20-acre lot to become the first tenant in the Littleton Industrial Park, employing 125 local workers. Burndy remains a key component in the Industrial Park more than four decades later.