Tired of seeing a handful of large trucks parking overnight at the former downtown mall site, the city is cracking the whip.
After city Councilor Ken Cockayne complained recently that the 17-acre site “looked like a truck stop,” Mayor Art Ward said he was already on the case.
He said that public works employees were making signs barring overnight parking on the city-owned property – signs that are now posted.
Before the signs went up, Ward said, he was growing increasingly irritated.
“I looked out my window and saw a truck depot,” Ward said.
With the truck problem dealt with, city officials are eyeing what to do next to revitalize the site the city bought almost four years ago for $5.3 million. It has spent about $8 million on the property, counting the demolition of the mall, hiring lawyers and consultants, and shelling out for the operation of the nonprofit Bristol Downtown Development Corp.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro said he plans to prod Ward into arranging the promised workshop session between the council and the seven-person BDDC to talk about what’s next for the property.
“We would like to know what’s happening,” Nicastro said.
The BDDC sought last year to find a developer, but wound up with only a single offer, from a Florida get-rich-quick real estate course seller whose offer fell well short of what officials hoped for. He was quickly dropped from consideration.
The nonprofit plans to seek more development prospects, this time without laying out in any detail what it’s looking for on the site. That effort is slated to begin soon.
But officials have said they understand that given the rough economy and the difficult in lining up financing for projects, it’s unlikely that a project will get underway on the site, tagged Depot Square, anytime in the near future.
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