June 2, 2008

Officials respond to downtown proposal

I'll update this through the day as I hear from people who are willing to talk about their initial thoughts on the proposal the Bristol Downtown Development Corp. received on Friday. Any candidates, business leaders or government officials who want to weigh in -- on the record -- should freel free to write me at scollins@bristolpress.com or give me a call.

State Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who represents the 31st District:
To tell you the truth it was a great sounding sales pitch but you know that old saying if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is . All I am doing is hoping for the best.

Christopher Wright, a Bristol Democrat who is running for the state House seat in the 77th District:
Looking at the Depot Square proposal, it seems to include just about everything the city was looking for. It appears to have a nice mix of commertial, retail, residential and entertainment venues, even an amphitheatre. The question is, how feasable is the project? Have any of the stores or restaurants mentioned in the proposal shone any interest yet? What we need is a complex which will be around for the next 50 years and not burn out in the next 5. After all, this is the heart of our city that we're talking about. Now that the BDDC has a proposal in hand, let them investigate it and come back with a recomendation.


Derek Jerome, a Republican running for the state House in the 79th District:
At first glance it appears to be something like a proposal I saw a few years ago when Gatto still owned the mall. The concept is a good one except for actually getting the retailers noted. Remember the big ESPN project that was supposed to be the big draw? Although Bristol in their home, there wasn't enough interest in a Manhattan style ESPN Zone.
I have been asked why "they" don't put a Christmas Tree Shops or similar draw store on the site. The truth is, if the customer base isn't there "they" won't come. We, as a city, need to have the infrastructure in place in order to bring something like this to reality.
Blue Back Square in West Hartford is a prime example. West Hartford already had highway access, a pedestrian friendly downtown shopping center and ample parking (in existence for as long as I can remember) as well as the customer base with disposable income to spend. Unfortunately none of these exist in abundance in Bristol.
We all seem to develop amnesia about past mistakes when it comes to new development. We all just recently saw a prior generations idea of "Downtown Revitalization" demolished. If this is to come to reality, and the retailers are really behind it, I hope we all support them with our business so we are not having this same discussion in 20 years.


City Councilor Craig Minor, a Democrat:
The architectural rendering shows literally everything that we wanted to see, including the through street from Laurel to Main that I was pushing for. The question, however, is whether the applicant has the financial ability to execute it. The BDDC has excellent legal counsel and a top-notch economic development expert advising them, so I am confident that they will make the right decision as to what to do with the proposal.

City Councilor Ken Cockayne, a Republican:
As far as the plan itself, on paper and in theory it looks great. Now we must do our homework and see if the funds are there to actually do what is presented. The last thing we want is another investor like the last one who owned the mall, coming in with big ideas and doing nothing. If everything checks out and this is a proposal that can be done I will support it. I will not however support a proposal just because it’s the only one we’ve gotten it. I’m also a bit worried that we only received one proposal. For the past couple years all I’ve heard were the list of people interested in this property. What happened to those people?

Jill Fitzgerald, GOP candidate in the 77th state House district:
The proposal given to the BDDC was interesting. It has many similarities to the touristy Union Station in St. Louis, MO, which we enjoyed very much. I do think it would be very important to investigate the legitimacy of the firm who submitted this proposal before moving forward. I would like to see an emphasis on the tourist attractions in our city; perhaps with a branch of the Bristol Historical Society on the site and the proposed trolley giving tours of the attractions like the Carousel Museum, Clock Museum, etc. In the fall of 2007, the AAA Journeys magazine featured "The Best of Bristol", which was a three page article about Bristol and our unique attractions. Another interesting thought for this would be for the trolley to run between there and Lake Compounce during the summer season, similar to the "Downtown Disney" idea.

*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does,t anybody pay attention to what is going on in the economy right now and the fact that lenders are not lending money to these kinds of projects. I bet the appendix calls for the city to sell the land for nothing and finance the whole construction through bonding. This hole gets deeper and deeper! Besdies the city's rain day fund owns the mall, when is that going to be paid back?

Anonymous said...

Chris Wright should have an editor check his work before he submits it.

commertial should be "commercial"

shone should be "shown"

There are other mistakes too, but I won't pick too hard.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Wright is an embarrassment. He doesn't deserve this silver platter seat, and he wouldn't even be a candidate if it wasn't for his father. Very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Jerome and Wright both seem to be in outer-space on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Ken, aren't you the liasion to the BDDC?
You should have some idea as to why there was only one response.

Anonymous said...

Derek Jerome - another one that needs to rely on something other than spell check.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Bristol has gone to hurculean efforts to restrict and limit access to the Bristol Center Mall , I will find it absolutely amazing if they were able to get ANY worthwhile retailer to invest in this unaccessible location .

Anonymous said...

June 2, 2008 7:16 PM:

Right, but when it's for the sake of the veterans nothing is too important.

But wait a minute. I thought they were protecting not only people but our commerce system and our economic stability. But I forgot, that stuff doesn't matter much in Bristol.

Anonymous said...

June 2, 2008 6:21 PM:

No I'll bet this came right from Jerome's skewed train of thought.

Anonymous said...

A few of these quotes from this post and a few other recent ones show that in Bristol, politics is not only stardom for the ugly, but's it's stardom for the stupid as well.

Anonymous said...

They messed with my Ocean State Job Lot.

Anonymous said...

"Hurculean efforts to restrict and limit access to the Bristol Center Mall"?

Are you referring to a couple of stop signs on Memorial Blvd and the crosswalks on North Main St.? These are hardly "hurculean" efforts at restricting access...more like good old common sense efforts to slow down traffic and make our downtown area safer for pedestrians (ever been shopping in West Hartford, Old Saybrook, Avon, Simsbury...?). What retailer in their right mind would want cars whizzing by their business?

As for the comment, "for the sake of the veterans nothing is too important." The stop signs on Memorial Blvd aren't there just for the veterans, but for the multitude of citizens who utilize it daily for walking, socializing with friends, wedding and prom photos, playing tennis, or just relaxing by the pond.

By the way, do you remember how many fatal accidents there were on the boulevard BEFORE the stop signs?

Anonymous said...

Oh whatever, those stop signs were clearly put there at the request of the local veterans groups, and they get what they want. Nevermind the long term impact it will have on the city's traffic and commerce. All that matters is making the veterans happy now so they will vote the right way in the next election.

Anonymous said...

This comment:

"for the multitude of citizens who utilize it daily for walking, socializing with friends, wedding and prom photos, playing tennis, or just relaxing by the pond"

...is pure dillusion.

"Multitude"? I suggest you use a dictionary before you mis-use words. The correct word would be "handful".

Anonymous said...

June 3, 2008 11:48 AM:

Dittos!!

Anonymous said...

"Oh whatever, those stop signs were clearly put there at the request of the local veterans groups, and they get what they want. Nevermind the long term impact it will have on the city's traffic and commerce. All that matters is making the veterans happy now so they will vote the right way in the next election"

-This is 100% correct and you mirror my sentiments exactly!! Good for you.

Anonymous said...

100% right 9:01 - nobody has died since the Memorial "Speedway" stop signs have been in place. Good enough reason for me!

Anonymous said...

If you think a couple of stop signs on the boulevard are going to have "long term impact" on the city's traffic and commerce, then I do believe you're the one who's being DELUSIONAL. Sounds more like you're an unhappy anti-veteran trying to whip up trouble where there is none. Whose ever idea it was get the speed demon morons zipping up and down the boulevard to slow down...it worked! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

OK bloggers....can we get back on topic now??

About the sole downtown development proposal................

Anonymous said...

It is quite obvious this plan was merely thrown together in order apease the sentiments of the west hartford wannabe's .

WAKE UP !!!!! West Hartford isn't even the place you have conjured up in your fantasies .

On my travels through Bristol today I noticed a long-running business on it's outskirts which exemplifies this city ...


WASTELAND*


* (possible new name for the Bristol Centre Mall ?? ) ;-)

Blight Nazi Guy said...

Location .... Location ..... Location


Draw up a plan that consolidates the veterans' Memorials all in one location on the 17 acre site on North Main Street .

Draw up another plan to establish a commercial endeavor which would benefit from being located DIRECTLY in line with the NEW and IMPROVED route 72 .

Veterans and the 'multitudes' currenntly visiting the present memorial area would be able to enjoy a safe and un-fettered area to meditate etc ....

Locating a commercial enterprise w/ direct access to a major traffic spur would be more appealing to Major Investors .

Anonymous said...

June 3, 2008 2:54 PM:

What? When were there any fatalities on the Bouleavrd previous to the signs?

You're an idiot!

Anonymous said...

"You're an idiot!"

I beg to differ. There have been many fatalities on the boulevard, both car and motorcycle...check your facts before you call someone an idiot...idiot.

Anonymous said...

June 3, 2008 8:08 PM

Name one recently where you can show that these new stop signs would have stopped it...idiot.

Anonymous said...

June 3, 2008 8:08 PM:

Perhaps they should put a stop sign on Route 6 by St. Jospeph's cemetery too?

Or how about some on I-95?


(...idiot)

Anonymous said...

I can't recall any fatalities on the boulevard for quite a long time.

When were they?

Anonymous said...

If the BLVD is going to be as busy as you claim, then some way of helping people get across will be necessary.

Also, since there will be a traffic light at Middle street, the number of vehicles will be limited to one phase of the light. I do not see any significant backup.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps they should put a stop sign on Route 6 by St. Jospeph's cemetery too?

Or how about some on I-95? (...idiot)"


If you don't understand the difference between a state highway and Memorial Boulevard...I'm thinking maybe you're the idiot. :-)

Anonymous said...

I see the whiners are still on here. Get a life will ya ?

Anonymous said...

Your wives must be going crazy with all your negativism. Or are they all gone?

Anonymous said...

"If you don't understand the difference between a state highway and Memorial Boulevard...I'm thinking maybe you're the idiot"

--Well if you're not understanding that the "Memorial Boulevard" is a major artery to and through downtown Bristol (which used to be more convenient than Riverside Ave, than I don't just think you're an idiot, I know you are.

Did you NOT notice the multi million dollar STATE HIGHWAY extention that dumps right into the Boulevard? Did you NOT notice the Boulevard is the best access route to and through downtown Bristol? Did you NOT notice that cars are stopping for nothing (not traffic or pedestrians) 99.9% of the time?

What planet are you people on?

Anonymous said...

"If you don't understand the difference between a state highway and Memorial Boulevard...I'm thinking maybe you're the idiot"

--Only an idiot would want to block up the Boulevard and divert traffic onto South Street and Riverside Ave. Oh yeah that's what the idiots are doing!

Anonymous said...

"Only an idiot would want to block up the Boulevard and divert traffic onto South Street and Riverside Ave. Oh yeah that's what the idiots are doing!"

The Boulevard isn't BLOCKED, it merely has ONE extra stop sign to slow down the idiots. I guess the only ones who should be upset by that would the idiots, right?

Anonymous said...

June 4, 2008 4:03 PM:

No they would be people going back and forth to work, wondering why they have to stop for absolutely no traffic...while they waste gas and time.

Also people traveling into downtown, wondering why this nice stretch of roadway is being impeded by idiocy. But you wouldn't understand that.

The signs are there for pedestrian access to the tacky and more tacky as each year goes by, Boulevard monuments which barely anyone looks at. It's getting to be an embarassment, not to mention an obstacle of commerce.

Anonymous said...

Oh that tacky, tacky memorial park! I mean seriously, who needs memorials for all those men and women who died so that we can go to work and drive our cars, and enjoy the freedom to come and go as we please? Geez, and such a serious obstacle to commerce too, with that extra stop sign and all! No one will ever want to go downtown now, waste all that gas and time stopping for a couple of extra seconds....

What an embarrassment (yes, you are)!

Anonymous said...

Can the two "idiot" slingers step outside and settle it like men!

This is supposed to be about the downtown proposal not a fight about whether or not Memorial Blvd should remain a park to honor the Veterans or not.

There are several obstacles that impede the flow of 72 after it ends at Middle Street. Riverside actually provides a more direct route to the retail sections of Main and North Main Street (minus the 17 acre gaping hole).

Bracket Park, the narrowness of 72 to West Street and the V on Divinity and Park with businesses and residences right up to the sidewalk in many areas limit the ability to expand 72 to make it a true connecting secondary highway. For all intensive purposes 72 will now end where it ends. Wolcott St residents will branch off to South Street. Downtown/Federal Hill residents will use Riverside Ave and the West End/Terryville residents will continue down Memorial Blvd. It is important that the feeder lanes, traffic signals, and signage be aligned as such.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You must be laughing your butt off at what you can get the Bristol people to do.

It doesn't take much to taunt the monkey in the cage anymore, does it?

Anonymous said...

Ah gee...he started it! ;-)

Anonymous said...

"For all intensive purposes 72 will now end where it ends"

Well umm actually it ends at the intersection of Route 4 appoxiamtely 15 miles from the Bristol/Plymouth city line. Do you think the civilized world ends at the Bristol city line or something?

Memorial Blvd was built and preserved for years to honor those killed in action, not "veterans" of the armed forces in general. That's a new thing.

A monument can be designed poorly and can be called tacky even if it's for an honorable purpose. Are these monuments officially endorsed by US government whom these soldiers fought for? Some of the monuments (noteably the ones for the soldiers KIA) are fine, some are unnecessary and were designed in poor taste. Sorry to anyone who can't handle criticism, but the real heroes are dead anyway.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys who were in the service want? You want the whole world to bow down to you? You think you deserve to cut in front of anybody in line just because no wanted to hire you out of HS and you had to join the army?

Thirty five years ago there was a draft. Some guys had it really tough, some had it relatively easy.

After that the guys who joined were there for the opportunity the service brings. You get job training, you get to learn discipline, a structured life, free room and board, vets bennies, and it's somewhat impressive on a resume. When I was in HS the smart guys went to college and the less academically astute (we'll say) either found a job or joined the Army (mostly to prove they were tough guys). Today we're at war so it's different. But wasn't the experinece and the fact that you did it enough? You need to have monuments and "memorials" (even though you're still alive) built for you?

The Legion is shrinking. Now they have "Sons of the Legion" because so few served after the draft was repealed in 1974. I'm for honoring the war vets. But the rest of you guys, enough is enough already! Congratulations on your service, but can we move on now?

Anonymous said...

Jerome basically states everyone in Bristol is poor and can't afford nice clothes (Macy's doesn't carry his size anyway) so there will never be nice retail in the downtown.

The facts are that all the stores
are in the larger population centers (West Hartford, Waterbury, Meriden etc) and we're too close to all of them so they are not coming here.

The biggest problem is auto access. Kohls would be nice, but there's not enough traffic volume. Is the New Britain/Plainville line a high income area? No, but a limited access highway is right there.

And this Fitzgerald thinks Trolleys (and she's not alone) is a viable idea for the downtown. Who the hell is going to ride a trolley here and where are they going to go? They're going to ride to the clock museum? No one goes there anyway, why would they pay to ride a trolley there? Why would anyone put a trolley line in? WTF?!?

Candidates, please think before you write...and run for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Lodovico got what he wanted.
But how about us people??

Anonymous said...

Maintenence Administrator Johnny Lod?

Anonymous said...

Where is Geladino on this.

He claims to have all the answers.