July 28, 2013

City manager proposal shot down... in 1961

In 1961, Bristol voters got a chance to vote on whether to switch to a city manager form of government, hailed as a way to make municipal government more efficient. They rejected it on a 3,789 to 3,073 tally.
The city's Democratic Party and the Greater Bristol Labor Council led the opposition to the change at the time. They said it would cost do much and that it wasn't necessary.
The more things change...  
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 27, 2013

Cockayne: Only crumbs for the classrooms

A letter to the editor from Republican mayoral candidate Ken Cockayne:
 The tickets for the November election have been endorsed by both Town Committees this week.

The Republican slate of City Council candidates represents a diversified slate that is ready to roll up its sleeves and bring positive change to our community and I am excited to work with them for the betterment of Bristol.

I, however, was struck by a comment made by my opponent for mayor. He stated that the Democrats were going to give us “A great 21st century city with a strong education system.”

The reason this comment perplexed me was that I believe we already have a strong education system.

It is appalling that the current chairman of the Bristol Board of Education who has been a member of that body for nearly a decade can make a statement alluding to fact that we don’t have a strong education system.

A few years back when my opponent was leading the charge to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on closing four neighborhood schools and constructing two new buildings he told us that this new K-8 concept was going to improve the quality of our education and give us state-of-the-art facilities.

Now that the city has invested millions of hard-earned tax dollars and redistricted thousands of students, the board chairman and Democrat nominee says that we are still in need of “a strong education system.”

I believe the teachers in our community do a terrific job of educating our students with the limited resources the board chairman has allocated to them.  As it has been well documented in The Bristol Press over the past few years, our current education structure is way too top heavy with a majority of the scarce education dollars going to central office and school administrators, leaving the crumbs to make their way to the classrooms.

This is evident by the fact that after closing four neighborhood schools, the Board of Education laid off not one administrator and let go of 32 teachers in the process.

As mayor, I will have very little to say about how education dollars are appropriated on Church Street.

The current state law ties the hands of local fiscal appropriators.

Having said that, we all know that more changes are needed at central office to ensure that our students are receiving a quality education and our teachers have the resources needed to teach them.

Obviously this process has been a challenge for the current chairman of the Board of Education and it was made more apparent by his comments alluding to the fact that our education system is weak and that our city isn’t ready for the 21st century.

I believe that our community is well positioned for the 21st century. The development of downtown Bristol and the opportunities available by the completion of Route 72 will make our community more prosperous and help reduce our tax burden on businesses and homeowners.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 26, 2013

Nicastro grateful for Imagine Nation funding

Press release:

State Representative Frank Nicastro (D-79th District) thanked Governor Malloy and the State Bond Commission for approving the release of $137,000 in state funding for the Imagine Nation Preschool Learning Center in Bristol. The funding was approved by the State Bond Commission at their monthly meeting July 26 at the Legislative Office Building.

“It is state money being spent in the right place for the right purpose, our children,” said Rep. Nicastro. “Their preschool is a well-run operation that prepares young people for kindergarten and beyond. The Imagine Nation is a very well deserving group whose program supports working families.”

The Bristol Imagine Nation Preschool Learning Center will use the funds to upgrade its security system and make needed renovations and handicap accessible improvements.

The preschool is located in the Imagine Nation Children's Museum at 1 Pleasant St. in Bristol and provides daily access to all the learning and interactive centers of the museum.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Brown garners endorsements from young Democrats

Press release from City Council hopeful Calvin Brown:

"Brown Picks Up Youth Endorsements"
City Council Candidate Calvin Brown (Bristol 1) is the latest candidate to pick up an endorsement from the Northwest Connecticut Young Democrats. In addition to their endorsement, Brown addressed a crowd of young Democrats last month at the annual Connecticut High School Democrats' State Convention where he received their endorsement as well.
In his remarks, Brown, 20, indicated that he wanted more young people to become active in politics. "Our generation holds the key to 21st century knowledge and skills," Brown said, "working together hand in hand with the generations that come before us-- across the communities where we live, work and go to school-- our generation can lead the way to success and prosperity in this ever changing world."
Calvin Brown
The Connecticut High School Democrats, as well as the Northwest Connecticut Young Democrats, are among the first youth oriented groups to endorse Brown in his bid for a seat on the City Council this year. "I've known Calvin since we went to Boys State in 2010. He's always been bright, energetic, and passionate about public service,” said Edward Corey, Secretary of the Northwest Connecticut Young Dems, “if anyone can get voters excited about their city, it's Calvin."
"I am running for City Council because I believe that Bristol's best days are ahead of it. I believe I can bring a new perspective and new experience to the City Council that will help the city to envision and attain its long term goals."
Brown added that his experience of having to work while seeing himself through college is reflective of the struggle many families throughout the community face. "I've grown accustomed to working and going to school simultaneously, as many of us have. I'm not afraid to learn and at the same time do the hard work that will be required of me to serve my constituents well."
This year's municipal elections will be on Tuesday, November 5th. Citizens will elect a new mayor, six city council persons, a treasurer, three members of the Board of Assessment Appeals, and town constables.

Full disclosure: My son is a former president of the Connecticut High School Democrats. My daughter is the organization's chief parliamentarian.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 24, 2013

Democrats pick municipal candidate slate

Press release from the city Democrats:
Bristol Democrats Choose Their Ticket

Chris Wilson, current chair of the Bristol Board of Education, received the endorsement of the Bristol Democratic Town Committee at its regular meeting, Monday, July 22, in the City Council Chambers.
Chris Wilson
In his comments, Wilson emphasized leadership, professionalism, process and education.
“Bristol can and should be a great 21st century city with great services and a quality of life,” he said. “It is our job as leaders to enhance that quality of life.”
Wilson said that he will lead by example and cited his extensive experience as a businessman and committed citizen, especially his role as chair of the Bristol Board of Education.
“I will bring a sense of professionalism and civility to my interactions with the public, unions and policy makers,” he said, and pointed to governance model used at the BOE as an example of how he will function as mayor.
He said that he will engage with as many people as possible to share a positive issue-oriented campaign. He added, “There will be a clear choice for the public based upon qualifications and issues.”
Regarding education, he referred to his own education and well as the education of Bristol’s children. Wilson, after leaving college when his funds were depleted, turned to the military before resuming his education and earning an MBA. His education continued, he said, at his business, The C.V. Mason Company, and with opportunities to lobby in Hartford and Washington, D.C.
Regarding the latter, he said, “It has afforded me the opportunity to see how CEOs of Fortune 500 companies think, plan, organize and direct their companies.”
For Bristol’s children, he said he wished for them the same educational foundation. In addition, he said, this value on education will encourage more middle class families to stay in Bristol but also for others to move to Bristol.
“It is an economic issue as well as a quality of life issue,” he said.
Wilson was unopposed as were the all of the city council candidates. Joining Wilson are Calvin Brown and Steve Jeffries in the First District, Allen Marko and Bob Vojtek in the Second District, and Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and Mary Fortier in the Third District.
A runoff was required for Board of Assessment Appeals with Shirley Salvatore and Richard Harlow coming out ahead in the field of five.
For its candidate at City Treasurer, the DTC voted in Sandra Stafford who accepted as a placeholder. The DTC will continue to seek a candidate for the position.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Minor: Help out city's food pantries

Here's a letter from Bristol resident Laura Minor:

It’s zucchini letter time again and I hope I have some zucchinis to give away! In early summer, for many years, I write a letter to the editor to remind all of my Bristol neighbors that our soup kitchens and shelters are in need of our garden’s produce.

Last year, I thought I might get a good yield of squash but that dream was destroyed by bugs, slugs and mildew. I was able to get some beans and tomatoes and a few other assorted vegetables over to all of our wonderful agencies with staff and volunteers who provide food all year long for folks who need it. This year, it’s so far, so good. I am hoping for squash along with my beans and peas and corn.
When you are packing up your produce don’t forget to add in some of the other things that are needed. I always check with each site for their updated lists.  Bring your extra plastic bags down to the food pantries. Drop off some grocery store gift cards. Many of our fellow Bristolites need our generosity and I hope those of you who can, will be generous.
Salvation Army (860-583-4651) – 19 Stearns St. -  Fresh veggies and fruits, canned food (vegetables, soups, fruits, stews, etc.), cereal, pasta, peanut butter, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, deodorants, soaps, diapers, coffee, after-shave, razors, and paper goods.

Christian Fellowship Center (860-589-0662)  43 Prospect St.– Drop off Tuesday through Friday (8:30-4:30) - fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, oil, clean plastic grocery bags, soda (for their volunteers), non-perishable goods (including canned gravy and vegetables), dishwasher detergent, styrofoam soup bowls and plastic spoons, Cremora, herbs, etc. (oregano, parsley, basil, garlic, salt) and mayonnaise. Gift cards are always good to purchase perishable foods for their storehouse. They always need volunteers.

Zion Lutheran Soup Kitchen (860-589-7744) – 27 Judd St. Drop off fruits, veggies and baked goods from Monday through Thursday ONLY. They need paper goods, coffee, canned juice, powdered juice/drinks (Crystal Light, etc.)

St. Vincent DePaul Shelter (860-589-9098) –Jacobs St. – Fruits and vegetables, of course. Coffee and drink mixes (already sweetened) – otherwise the folks at the shelter only drink water. The maintenance man is wishing for concrete floor paint (up to 20 gallons) and painting accessories - brushes, rollers, trays, tape, etc). The cook has a blender on her wish list. Also, leftover containers. BIG ones – the small ones don’t help.  Always needed: toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels. Over-the-counter medications that you would find in your medicine cabinet: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacid tablets, Pepto-Bismol, anti-diarrhea medicine, Band Aids, Neosporin or Bacitracin, cough medicine (NON ALCOHOL ONLY) and allergy medicine, mouthwash (NON ALCOHOL ONLY), foot spray and/or powder, ear plugs and/or Breathe-Right strips for snoring, and deodorant (men & women). For the kitchen: dish detergent, paper napkins, flatware (especially spoons & forks, aluminum foil, trash bags - all sizes, Zip-Lock bags - all sizes, liquid bleach and dryer sheets. Of course, grocery store gift cards are great as are bus tokens and passes.

I know that there are food pantries in other religious organizations for members, if you belong to a group that does this, please find out what is needed and help out as you can. Bristol is one of the most generous communities I know. Let’s do even more than we did last year.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 23, 2013

Plagiarism at the Central Connecticut Post

The Central Connecticut Post today has a "Staff" story that bears an uncanny resemblance -- well, more accurately, it appears to be an exact copy -- of a piece about ESPN that was published Monday by Mediabistro's TVNewser. I may be old-fashioned, but in my day that was considered plagiarism and anybody who did it was drummed out of the profession.
The new online paper claims it has a mission "to report news differently than you are used to seeing. We've replaced the boredom of the old newspaper websites with one that is simple,  to the point,  and user friendly."
I guess it is reporting news differently than we're used to seeing. Copy and paste isn't really reporting, though. It's theft. 

WANT TO HELP ENSURE THE NEXT GENERATION OF JOURNALISTS KNOWS BETTER? Lend a hand to Youth Journalism International's worldwide efforts! www.HelpYJI.com

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 12, 2013

What should Bristol do with Memorial Boulevard School?

Here are the unedited responses to city Councilor David Mills' survey about what should be done with the former Memorial Boulevard School:

Use for non profit theater and educational programs and rent office space within the building to mitigate some of the expenses.
7/8/2013 8:16 PM 
This building should be seen as the city asset that it is. We need to think creatively about our older schools (maybe even before we build the new ones!) and factor in the cost of re-purposing them when we think about replacing them. I would love to see property returned to the Grand List and am not necessarily in favor of the city retaining ownership. But I think we can sacrifice ROI to get the right developer that will preserve at least some of the building as public space for cultural groups, community meeting space, classrooms.I don't think housing is the best use of the space, especially given the vision of the planned living space on Main Street.
7/5/2013 8:44 PM 
$9,000,000 on the books and appraised for taxes @$6,500,000 and sell it for $300,000? Something smells. Allow the Chamber in there to promote the City and relocate some Departments from City Hall to the former school property.
7/5/2013 8:04 AM 
medical center for obama care
7/4/2013 8:55 AM 
The building should be managed preferably by a non-profit citizens group/educational group that will focus on continuing education, arts and humanities, public services complex. Designating the area as a historic site should be part and parcel in the entirety of the process. The grounds would make an exceptional multipurpose recreational site supporting public needs. Meeting community needs along with continuing education, social services, and arts and humanities is something sorely needed yet continues to be cut from every budget from federal right through to local levels as if a plague.
7/4/2013 6:40 AM 
I would like to see live Theater & performances that would bring world acts to Bristol
7/3/2013 8:51 PM 
make good use of this building.
7/3/2013 7:09 PM 
I would like to see the city retain the building and use it for educational, recreational, and or performing arts!
7/3/2013 6:02 PM 
Because this building holds such a significant legacy to education in Bristol I believe it should continue to be dedicated to that type of usage.
7/3/2013 5:19 PM 
Would like to see it turned into a school for fine arts. It would be nice to see the fields being used for recreational sports...possibly a training camp for kids (sports)
7/3/2013 3:02 PM 
This is a time of financial struggle. As much as I would love to do renovations to my own home, I am realistic and know to wait. It is very distressful to see new schools built to replace other schools, only to have to do something with the now empty ones. Why would Memorial Boulevard School be too costly to renovate, or maintain for a school, yet be considered for doing such, for City Hall? Does this make sense? And then what with City Hall, put more money there too? Why is one of the options of all this renovating and moving, not to wait? Do with what we have and use considerably less money maintaining or taking care of schools, City Hall, police and fire departments. Moving ahead is fine,,but now? It snowballs into less being able to pay taxes, less being able to maintain their own homes and properties due to higher costs. Let's not rush into things and become a throw away city.
7/3/2013 2:31 PM 
Sell it to private developers so it can be utilized in a way that the city will benefit.
7/3/2013 1:47 PM 
primarily a school for the teaching and honoring of all aspects of the arts
7/3/2013 1:35 PM 
It would be nice to see mixed use...there is plenty of space in the building for many uses...parking would be somewhat of a problem. If you are inviting the community to use the building, there would have to be parking available.
7/3/2013 1:20 PM 
no matter who ends up with it, I think it should retain it's historic look. I also think it is important for the theater to be used as a performing arts center.
7/3/2013 12:50 PM 
Here the city leaders have an opportunity to have vision and make the school into the welcoming attraction to downtown Bristol. If people had a reason to come to Bristol, the businesses would flourish. The people who live downtown could possibly work in the incubator spaces as well as walk to the many shows, events and performances held at the theater. The community groups can use it as well but the scope needs to be looking at bringing in people outside the city. If you sell to a developer, the city loses control, Look at what local developers are doing. Turning the city into grand chain central. Please, please do the right thing. have the courage to do it the right way, not the easy way to make a few bucks. There are other schools developers can purchase to make loft apartments in (Bingham School). Don't make the same mistakes city leaders have made in the past. Leave a legacy to your children and grandchildren. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to voice my ideas.
7/3/2013 12:20 PM 
a cultural arts and performance center, and continuing education go hand in hand, something to bring people to a destination
7/3/2013 12:17 PM 
I would definitely move city hall and the chamber of commerce into the building i theater would be a used for town meetings and special events.
7/3/2013 12:03 PM 
As a former MBS student, I would love to see the building utilized for plays, art and anything else cultural.
7/3/2013 11:54 AM 
adult community center
7/3/2013 11:25 AM 
I think we need to have vendors throughout the building. Possibly one floor of vendors, second floor of food vendors, etc. The athletic fields should be leased to Lacrosse. Florida has these great indoor flea markets that make a lot of money. They sell everything from purses, suitcases, belts, clothing, jewelry, a little like the Big E and they are very successful.
7/3/2013 11:23 AM 
Keep it in use.
7/3/2013 11:07 AM 
I would want the integrity of the architecture and grounds kept as is. I do not want to see it sold to a for profit developer. Bristol tax dollars paid for that building and it belongs to the people of Bristol.
7/3/2013 11:03 AM 
Anything that will benefit the City of Bristol residents it shouldn't ever be sold! This should be part of downtown project do something for us for a change!
7/3/2013 10:56 AM 
Since it is on Rt 72, it is the PERFECT Tourist Center, and the locals can utilize a Cafe when they walk on the boulevard, or stop in for the Arts Center. The historic building should not be altered, just enhanced to make it accessible. It should be a source of pride for our community, and for the boulevard.
7/3/2013 10:52 AM 
Keep it as is , use it for performing art space and Educational space
7/3/2013 10:43 AM 
i would like to see good use made of this wonderful old school. IT holds so many memories for most of us Bristol residence. Dont turn it into something that wont last just to re-do it and waste the tax payers $. Let it stay as close to the original school as it is now. It is a piece of our history. Look how they have DESTROYED Mary A Callen. My grade school... So So Sad those are memories we can never share with OUR kids...
7/3/2013 10:24 AM 
Move City Hall and all outsourced city offices there.
7/3/2013 10:23 AM 
i would like to see the school used a a recreational center something like the ymca or bristol boys and girls club a place for young and old people to do their hobbies or perform plays or shows in the auditorium or have hobby classes something for the people of bristol to do...you can even use the sports feild for purposes such a a carnival or sports games
7/3/2013 10:19 AM 
Used as a community building that the residents can go to and shop see a show have lunch and relax.
7/3/2013 10:03 AM 
Somewhere where the residents of Bristol can go and see art be made or create art themselves.
6/30/2013 5:38 PM 
What ever happens... please please stop and think about what You the ELECTED politicians in Bristol want for our City. Do we want a city with Character, Culture and some kind of sophistication. Or Do we want to keep losing all of our Best and Brightest Graduates that leave Bristol because they want to live in a town that they can be proud of and interested in? Memorial Boulevard School should NOT be sold to a developer. A developer could eventually do whatever they wanted to that building with no regard for the citizens of this city. I support the Mem. Blvd. Arts & Techno Ctr Idea 100%.
6/30/2013 3:26 PM 
This building sits as a gateway to one of Bristol's greatest parks(the Memorial Boulevard) and its soon to be new revitalized downtown. It should become a Civic Center, a destination for residents and visitors. A public available pool, gym and auditorium for different civic events and perhaps displays in some of the areas of what Bristol has to offer(like its museums, amusement park,etc). This building should display what Bristol is proud of and has to offer, not become another developers project and broken promise to preserve our history(like the Terry House.) The administration in this town has to stop thinking about the quick buck and selling our history and have some vision of what this building could be now and many years from now. And the athletic fields must be kept for the public use. The youth of this town need these fields and more as do other citizens who utilize the fields. And the idea of putting more apartments there when we are already on the verge of developing the apartments on Main makes no sense.
6/29/2013 1:52 PM 
Sell the building so we can start collecting property taxes on the building. DO NOT get caught up in the Lease / maintenance and costs to bring this old building up to current codes. The city of Bristol should not be involved in the property management business, period.
6/29/2013 8:52 AM 
Included in the downtown revitalization. Develop it with a purpose that encourages other small businesses to see a value to moving into space around the facility. For example, if there are enough theater and music events, or athletic events on the athletic field, small restaurants or delis will see a value and move into space in the area. This will create more jobs and add more reasons for more people to visit downtown.
6/29/2013 8:10 AM 
I would love to see ESPN have a sports museum within the building and possibly sell sports memorabilia and ESPN logo items. The theater needs to be the towns theater.
6/28/2013 7:24 PM 
I would like to see apartments similar to the ones built in the school on Federal Hill. Some parking and the athletic fields should remain in the hands of the city. The theatre should be governed by the city and the gym/swimming should be available to the public at a cost, of course. Thank you for asking.
6/27/2013 9:57 AM 
Apt's for People that is 50 year old and up.
6/26/2013 10:48 AM 
I think the primary usage should be to benefit the community, but if those options have been deemed unavailable or incapable of investing what's necessary then Bristol should sell it privately.
6/26/2013 9:03 AM 
I would like to see City Hall move their offices there, to provide space for the veteran's needs, performing arts space and if there is room, a continuing education space. I do not want to see apartments/condos. Let Renaissance get their housing going to see if/how Bristol will do with their housing projects. A better use for the building is what I stated in the beginning.
6/25/2013 9:32 AM 
We need a performing arts center. If you want to see how well it can be done, go see the Warner Theater and all they do for classes, etc.
6/22/2013 10:59 PM 
Great Bristol Ct. Visitor center with lots of Bristol history and sell things that say Bristol post cards ,towels, hats, souvenirs We need one when we go on vacation every place I have ever been to have them it would be so cool to have one here maybe even at the old Bingham school or Jennings
6/22/2013 7:39 PM 
Sell it for the best price that the market will bear. Progress means that the city needs to relinquish control an allow private investors and the market drive demand. This will e another step forward in the re-development of downtown.
6/22/2013 2:04 PM 
A combination of business incubators, artists studios/living spaces, an active, vibrant gallery in the library, a dinner/theater which can also be used for local productions. The theater, if done right can quite possibly generate enough income to carry most of the cost of the building. The field outside can also be used for income-producing fairs and festivals. The point is with all of these components is to "show Bristol residents the money".
6/22/2013 12:02 PM 
The MB School should enhance the restoration of downtown Bristol and provide a vibrant multi-use community space, with a focus on wellness,fitness, arts and education, and ensure that veterans have access to these services at low or no cost.
6/21/2013 3:33 PM 
Anything community and arts related would make me very happy to see it out to a good use. I would support their activities.
6/21/2013 1:56 PM 
Renovate and use that beautiful theatre-it is a grand, old place that could be a jewel in our cit'y crown. Just revisit the Chamber's original plan and most importantly, don't let 3 monkeys on the real estate committee hold it's initial fate in their paws!
6/21/2013 12:57 PM 
The Boulevard is a huge asset to the city of Bristol. Using it as a focus to welcome and introduce new people into the city and the new downtown area will be integral to making the city relevant among our "perceived high end" neighbors like West Hartford, Farmington and Avon. The Boulevard’s relatively easy access from the new 72 will be key. Resources like it’s BEAUTIFUL theater and grounds are sought after in recapture projects like Bristol Rising. IF and only IF, the building managed and marketed properly can it lead the city into a new era. The city and more importantly its leaders have the opportunity to show their vision and leadership in a positive way. If this building goes by the wayside or is dumped into the lap of a developer it will be a lost opportunity for the city and its residents. I am looking forward to the future of this amazing site.
6/21/2013 12:43 PM 
The city should not tie itself to any either-or options regarding activity in the building or its ownership or management structure. Combinations of uses will probably work best, and lines in the sand will stifle creative proposals for reusing the building. With those concepts in mind, the city should solicit proposals that would add to the vibrancy and attractiveness of downtown, making it a more attractive place to live, work and visit. Any strict prerequisite on a sale price, subsidy, lease amount, or carrying cost should be avoided, and instead, these amounts should be determined based on how much money or activity each proposed use would bring in, how much money the city would save in other locations, and also, the extent that each proposed use fulfills a need that the city is willing to pay for using tax dollars. That said, the city should aim to add activity at Memorial Boulevard, not simply moving activity from somewhere else, unless that move creates the potential to add activity in the other location. the architectural value of that building makes it a draw for many uses, including upscale housing, office space, and cultural space. Perhaps the city could renovate and build on the theater by adding recording and video studios and arts space to adjacent space, and lease the rest as business incubation space, non-profit office space, and private office space. The building also would make an excellent shell for upscale housing, but any developer ought to pay a fair price based on the potential profit, not a cut-rate price. Any private sale should also include deed restrictions keeping the theater as a community asset or retaining the city's ownership in the theater and adjacent space for cultural purposes. Likewise, the city ought to retain ownership of the athletic fields. In any deal, the city must also insist that the city, not a private developer, maintain control of access to the cultural space and theater, so that the public will always be guaranteed use of these facilities. If the city has no already done so, it should invest money in a planning study that evaluates the building in combination with what Bristol needs to add to the downtown, and proposes reuse alternatives and potential financing options - whether, public, private, nonprofit or a combination of all three.
6/21/2013 11:14 AM 
The space should be kept for non-profit community and municipal use. What doesn't get applied to municapl departments should be leased for community theater, workshops, charitable fundraisers et al. Keep it as a place to supplement the astetics of memorial boulevard. Also narrow the Boulevard to allow for parking and walking biking along the river.
6/21/2013 11:08 AM 
Art space.
6/20/2013 8:39 AM 
performing arts center to include, theater, music, live art, technology, sports
6/19/2013 10:54 PM 
No matter what happens, you must keep the auditorium for community arts events. It's a beautiful theater and easily adapted for a variety of performances. I would love to see courses offered, meeting space for community organizations, rented lofts/rooms for artists, dance studios, recording studio, etc. East Hartford renovated one of their old schools with the auditorium and it's lovely.
6/19/2013 4:57 PM 
convert to condos.
6/19/2013 4:34 PM 
Preserve and protect the history of Bristol. Create an outstanding art center for the performing arts and related activities.
6/19/2013 3:59 PM 
The space should be a performing arts location and space for art classes or recreational space. Think about the performing arts spaces in Norfolk, CT and Thomaston or the Kate in Old Saybrook. This could be a money-making enterprise if someone takes a leap of faith. If this is not possible, I believe it should be used for living space over retail space as Bristol does not always select the most insightful developers or retail owners. The wrong retail outlet(s) could have a negative impact on the area. I admit that I am not well schooled myself in retail management and commercial real estate development. The downtown Bristol revitalization will impact the Memorial Boulevard reuse and vice versa. The downtown area is supposed to be mixed use however, so I don't believe two areas very similar to each other are needed. Another coffee shop or drugstore is certainly not needed--I am absolutely sure of that! If this area becomes a performing arts space, it will drive food service businesses nearby. There could be permitting included that would provide patrons a chance to consume a small amount of beverages and food during performances. Bristol is not thought of as a cultural destination. Please provide everyone wrong. Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
6/19/2013 3:05 PM 
I have spent my life in Bristol. I went to school here and have witnessed many changes. Some great some not so much. Regardless of what has happened throughout our lives, the memorial boulevard school has always been an historic icon. We still give directions using the landmark. To go and change it into some type of housing is really a disgrace to our city. I think we have transformed enough schools into housing. We need to look right inside our city and see what great opportunities are here. We have many performing arts grouse that are forced to seek home bases that fit their growing needs. If we were to give the arts a place to happen, I truly believe more people would frequent our city. We really need this to add to the city revitalization efforts. People do not visit a city filled with houses and nothing to do. They visit to shop and see a show, concert or art event. And not just a once a year event but to be able to go when they feel like it. I know the bbwe puts on 5-6 concerts a year and people travel to see us. The bcs puts on 2. I am sure both groups as well as the theatre group and the bristol reunion jazz band would attract a great # of out of town patrons if given a place do do so consistently. In turn that would bring patrons to the city and increase retail revenue. It is a win-win. We just want a chance.
6/19/2013 1:45 PM 
I would love to see an Art Gallery in the old school. It's too historic a building to be sold to someone who might tear it down.
6/19/2013 1:32 PM 
Keep it and Create an arts space and senior center
6/19/2013 1:01 PM 
I would love to see it used as a performing arts center. So many organizations could benefit from that ability to have a practice space without having to shop around too much
6/19/2013 12:56 PM 
I'd prefer to see it turned into condos (see: Hillside Place, New Britain, CT) and offered to ESPN employees at an advantaged rate as keeping ESPN folks in town is a HUGE opportunity Bristol is missing
6/19/2013 12:52 PM 
Turn it into the new City Hall. Go take a walk through the City Hall in West Hartford, which was renovated and was previously, I believe, the old Hall High School. You'll see the potential for what can be done with a building like this.
6/19/2013 12:40 PM 
knock it down and sell it. Valuable piece of land
6/18/2013 10:14 PM 
We need revenue generating activities. No more senior housing.
6/18/2013 5:16 PM 
I would like to see it as a community space. A place where you can go to the theater, go to a nice flower show (etc.). A place where new businesses can be nurtured. A place where visitors to our city (and maybe even residents!) can get directions and information on sights, history, etc.
6/18/2013 2:01 PM 
sell it and get it off the city budget. Generate some tax dollars and give some old folks an option for where to live
6/18/2013 1:20 PM 
I would like City Hall to move there and for the auditorium to be renovated and used for performances and community events.
6/18/2013 12:46 PM 
The Memorial Blvd School should be placed in a historic district or some appropriate designation such that a committee oversees the preservation of the building architecture. Art space, artists studios, education space.
6/18/2013 10:37 AM 
Bristol is currently very sports-oriented. There is a need to diversify cultural life by encouraging the arts to flourish in order for the city to become a destination which will then encourage business to develop the downtown.
6/17/2013 11:31 PM 
The Theater should be fully fixed and renovated for performing arts in the city. By doing this the theater would also be rent-able for additional income to the city. The rest of the building should be made into the new town hall and the old town hall can be sold or put to other use. This beautiful old building would be perfect for representing our city as a town hall while also being utilized by the public for recreation and arts.
6/17/2013 4:26 PM 
Dosen't matter as long as it is used!
6/17/2013 5:23 AM 
It should become a culture and arts space.... don't underutilized the beautiful art deco auditorium!
6/16/2013 7:39 PM 
I want to see it turned into a place for the Bristol community to learn, have fun, and be a community. It should be our greatest asset, with an indoor playground, artist space, multi-use office space, the possibilities are endless. Use it to better the city, don't sell and let it become a useless shadow of a dream.
6/16/2013 4:28 PM 
Keep it as a city landmark at the very least.
6/16/2013 8:49 AM 
It is a unique property and should be used to bring the community together. Although renovating the building would be costly, an effort should be made to get investors from the community (businesses & personal) to offset the costs. Selling it to a developer seems short sighted to me.
6/16/2013 8:47 AM 
Preserved and remain city property
6/16/2013 7:21 AM 
I would love to see Memorial Boulevard School become a welcome place for Bristol. A nice theater to go to . Field for the kids to play on. Rent the rooms to renters.
6/16/2013 6:11 AM 
Be put to good use. Why waste?
6/15/2013 9:12 PM 
Leasing the building to a non-profit is absolutely ridiculous - SELL it to someone who will develop it, pay taxes so mine don't continue to rise exponentially.
6/15/2013 9:09 PM 
The exterior should remain the same, but it should become a revenue producer.
6/15/2013 8:21 PM 
The upper classrooms turned into studio apts for artists. The lower levels have performing arts or a gallery. All handicap accessible! Or used as a place that provides the community with art/performing art.
6/15/2013 5:52 PM 
I would like it to become a community gathering place to keep life and excitement in that area of town. It's too beautiful a building to not allow our citizens to utilize it.
6/15/2013 4:12 PM 
6/15/2013 2:57 PM 
It should respect the theme of The Memorial Boulevard
6/15/2013 2:51 PM 
Respect the Will of original owner every council should read the original will before any possibility. From Ajmal Mehdi
6/15/2013 1:41 PM 
All of the above as marked. Absolutely no more apartments, living space, etc.
6/15/2013 1:34 PM 
Please ! Please! avail yourself the opportunity of using the state services for historic preservation. http://www.cultureandtourism.org/cct/cwp/view.asp?a=3948&q=293806 This school needs to be saved.
6/15/2013 1:01 PM 
As a former student of this school, I am aware of the amount of space and the condition the building is in, it has been 13 years since I left this school, and it has not been repaired since. The building has several structural and aesthetic issues that need to be addressed, anyone taking over this facility will incur a high cost of renovation. With that in mind, a multi-faceted facility that aids the community in health and welness would be ideal, I would like some of the classrooms to remain classrooms, and large amount of the space and the cafeteria used to provide housing for homeless families, this would be valuable to the community, all homeless shelters are full to capacity, many of them with child molesters and sex offenders that can not find housing elsewhere, our kids need to be safe, even if they are homeless.
6/15/2013 12:51 PM 
Model it after what was done to The Thomaston Opera House/City Building. A performing Auditorium. Rehab. the Pool. And, possibly place a Bed & Breakfast or Hotel to subsidize some of the annual costs incurred by the Non-profit. Relocate the Senior Center there to the Center of town. Sell the Westwoods School to a developer! Do not allow more then one (1) City Office into this building! Use the field(s) for intermural activities or civic activities (Baloon Launch; Flea Mkts.; Craft Fairs/Art Shows; Dog Shows.)
6/15/2013 11:54 AM 
This is a Veterans town and it is on the blvd. why not make it into a veterans counceling center and clinic.
6/15/2013 11:28 AM 
need to keep the building. so versatile and such a part of Bristol History. People use the field for many things too. We have so many dance studios, performing arts that need space to rehearse and perform. It's such a large space, it could house offices too. Other towns have used old buildings as welcome centers, government buildings, housing. It seems this building has so many possibilities.
6/15/2013 11:18 AM 
See question number three
6/15/2013 11:05 AM 
This building has ample space for art studios, dance rehearsal, music rehearsal and recording, a beautiful theater, a small gym suited for the physical arts. This building also holds much history of Bristol involving the late Albert Rockwell. It is am architectural complement to the Boulevard. The arts would be the perfect tribute to the altruism of Rockwell and his brother-in-law and rival, DeWitt Page. The arts are necessary for the truth and beauty of society. Bristol could use some.
6/15/2013 10:55 AM 
I would like to see it sold to a private firm and used and not shuttered
6/15/2013 9:38 AM 
Kept and used by the City. It is the only building in the City that the residents can be truly proud of! Let the city residents decide what to with this beautiful building. Do not let a few people decide its fate for lousy 300 grand! Regarding item no. 9, if a volunteer board ,YES!
6/15/2013 9:36 AM 
Managing the City of Bristol does not mean selling off every property that is not presently needed. The challenge to city management is to hold on to is few remaining precious and priceless REAL (real estate) pieces of the this great city's history for use in the FUTURE, in HOPE that the city will someday return to greatness - and then use this great property for a great future use. Bristol should look back at it's mistake filled history of shortsightedness with respect to reuse and redevelopment, and learn from those mistakes. The city should be very conscious of the gold mines of opportunity represented by the city's brownfield properties. If that means doing the bare minimum to keep the building maintained and leased out for a minimally invasive purposes at cost or even at a minor cost....so be it!!! That is the job of the city leaders and a minor cost to be paid by the current residents of the city as they are likely to be the beneficiaries of maintaining this property for future use.
6/15/2013 8:53 AM 
In the last few years many movies were filmed in CT. We are approx. 21/2 hrs. away from New York City and or Boston. Making MBS into a school for the Arts (Performing Arts, Video/Musical Studio, Arts and Crafts) is a no brainer. We have the building and the location for a great school!
6/15/2013 8:10 AM 
Sell it to bidder for condos apts etc and get it on the tax roll Hello!!!
6/15/2013 7:32 AM 
I think it coud be an art museum similar to New Britain
6/15/2013 7:10 AM 
I would like the building to be used for community events. The auditorium and fields are assets to Bristol. If we sell the building,we will lose it forever. Non profit group would have to maintain it so that it does not become blighted. I went to this school and think it's a wonderful building.
6/15/2013 5:48 AM 
6/15/2013 3:48 AM 
well a public and a private place. build apratments in a private localtion and keep the big rooms open to the public. and keep it city owned and let the city profit.
6/15/2013 1:49 AM 
It's a BEAUTIFUL theatre and it's a shame that it needs such drastic renovations, but you could have restaurants in downtown that people attend before going to see a performance by our very talented Bristol Residents. Make it available for concerts, recitals, dinner theatre, community theatre, talent shows, Miss Mum/Miss Bristol pageants, etc.
6/15/2013 12:32 AM 
Sold as fast as possible to a private developer and placed on the tax rolls. The city does not have the expertise, resources, funds ot a master preservation plan to take on such an enormous project.
6/15/2013 12:05 AM 
Again bring school back if not teen tween center kids need stuff!
6/14/2013 11:51 PM 
Not let it decay and fall to the ground. While some hack politician try to make a name for themselves! Like a wise old Latin teacher once told me... If you can't hack it as a real teach you can always become a gym teacher!! Bruni, Mancini, Mills.. Etc. Should I say more??
6/14/2013 11:41 PM 
Seems odd to say. I loved that school and staff. Its a big part of Bristol and should be respected. I would love to walk the halls again (without being arrested) lol Thank you for listening.
6/14/2013 11:34 PM 
I'd like to see it purchased by a private developer and converted into upscale residential units. I would like the fields to be made into a large rose garden for public enjoyment/use (picnics, public/organizational small gatherings - with permit from P&R), managed by the Bristol Parks and Recreation Department. I fear that a non-profit management group would simply limp along - and we have too many non-profits doing that already in Bristol, not-withstanding their excellence in passion/purpose.
6/14/2013 11:29 PM 
the building should be sold to a private developer with a proven record of success in projects of this nature. Thourough reseach of any and all potential develpers must be a priority before any sale.
6/14/2013 11:21 PM 
I think it should have remained a Middle School . The city made a big mistake building those gigantic K-8's and the children will pay the price. I really would like to see it as our city hall. It could house most of our city depts. Plus provide a wonderful theater for civic use. Many in our community already have strong pride in this building and have memories within it's halls. It could unite the citizens of Bristol in a way that many of our politicians have failed to do. Many in our city would love to be able to visit this beautiful place and take pride in calling it our city hall. If not then I would like to see it used for educational purposes. An Arts Magnet School would be terrific.
6/14/2013 11:01 PM 
A Veterans home /hosp rehab weneedsomething for them closer
6/14/2013 10:18 PM 

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