The Bristol Press – MAYOR’S CORNER: Transformational changes for this “big little town”
The first month in office has been charged here at City Hall. Transformational changes are already happening.
Since taking the oath of office on November 8, the new team of six city council members has been assigned to city councils and commissions. In less than a week, we had to completely reorganize our municipal administration and organize our first municipal council. It was no small task. We take the time to get to know the inner workings of Town Hall, and the new city councilors and I have attended events and visited businesses to introduce ourselves and let the community know that we are here to listen and will continue to encourage people to be involved in our local government. We are planning public meetings and look forward to your comments.
Barely 10 days after starting our administration, we were able to appoint a new fire chief thanks to a 10-month search by the Fire Commission. After meeting him personally the weekend following our inauguration, Chief Richard Hart was sworn in as the new Bristol Fire Chief on November 18. The city has the skilled firefighters needed to replace anyone retiring in the coming months and to keep Bristol safe.
We have inherited the many projects underway in the downtown corporate area. The foundations in the heart of our city are coming together and it’s time to complete these projects and transform our city. The KindCare Assisted Living project at the north end of North Main Street is slated to open in the coming weeks. The Wheeler Clinic project in Center Square has been postponed for a month so that the new administration can have time to learn about the project. While we will take final action on this project at our next City Council meeting, we are also making progress in the Sessions building with site reclamation scheduled for early 2022 and site planning and purchase agreements. and impending sales on two other projects in Center Square.
Finally, the appointed 15-member ARPA working group will now meet twice a month to determine the best use of the $ 28 million allocated to Bristol in ARPA funding. As I told the task force, âThese federal funds are funds borrowed from future generations, but can be a unique opportunity to create a legacy for our grandchildren. In this vein, Bristol began ‘urban revitalization’ 60 years ago in 1961, and the next few years will be vital in finally transforming our city center again into a vibrant economic engine. An online application portal for ARPA funding, along with accompanying marketing materials, will be published the week of December 13. Bristol businesses and nonprofits will be invited to apply for the first round of $ 24 million with a submission deadline of January 31, 2022. The city’s projects will also be submitted for consideration during this first round. round of funding that will help post-COVID infrastructure projects.
I would like to thank the Bristol community for entrusting me with the management of this great city. I look forward to âBuilding a Better Bristolâ and transforming this âBig Little Townâ with all of you.