MAYOR'S CORNER: City Hall renovations: What the community needs to know

Published on Monday, 7 March 2022 21:15
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City Hall renovations: What the community needs to know

The current City Hall building was constructed in the early 1960s – it was completed and dedicated by then Mayor Walter J. Murphy Jr. on Sept. 4, 1963. In his statement to the Bristol community back then Mayor Murphy stated: “The Dedication of our New City Hall marks the beginning of Bristol’s New Downtown scheduled to get underway momentarily. . . . It is only the beginning of Bristol’s resurgence.” How fitting that as renovations begin at City Hall 60 years later, we are also at the beginning of Bristol’s “New Downtown” – with the renovations of City Hall and the construction to begin shortly at Centre Square. We can all look forward to an opportunity to make Bristol a better place to work and live.

Since 1963, there have been several updates that have taken place, but now it’s time for a complete overhaul of the entire building in order to replace the nearly 60-year-old mechanical systems, as well transform the building to be a fully accessible (Americans with Disabilities Act) ADA-compliant building. To help accomplish these goals, a new 7,158-square-foot entrance atrium addition is being added on the North Main Street facing side of the structure. The new addition will provide elevator access to each floor of the existing building from the main entry and accessible parking spaces at the main entry. While the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, energy, and ADA upgrades are necessary for the ongoing code compliance and normal functioning of City Hall, the opportunity to improve the facade on this side of the building is included in the scope of the project. In an effort to connect the new site with nearby streetscapes on North Main Street, accessible parking, and a sloping grade with the new main entrance, new planters, ramping, pavers, and other site work are also involved in the scope of work.

City Hall will close in April, when renovations are expected to begin, and will last between 15 and 18 months with an anticipated completion by October 2023 when all departments will move back in to the newly renovated City Hall. All City departments will be relocated to temporary office spaces for the duration of the renovation project. City departments will occupy “swing spaces” at the former Webster Bank building at 150 Main St. and at the former Bristol Courthouse located above the Bristol Police Department next door to the current City Hall.

 The Parks, Recreation, Youth & Community Services Department has already relocated to the Youth & Community Services offices at 51 High Street.

The following City Hall departments will be moving this month to the former Webster Bank  (please check the City’s website for exact dates for each department):

Assessor

Corporation Counsel

Economic & Community Development

Human Resources

Mayor’s Office

Registrar of Voters

Tax Office

Town & City Clerk

 In addition, the Veterans Strong Community Center will be relocated to the Douglas A. Beals Senior Center, located at 240 Stafford Ave. for the duration of the City Hall renovation project.

The following departments will be moving in April to the former Bristol Courthouse, located next door to City Hall above the Bristol Police Department (please check the City’s website for exact dates for each department):

Information Technology

Department of Public Works

Comptroller Office

Office of the Treasurer

Payroll and Insurance & Health Benefits

Building Department, Purchasing

Emergency Management

In order to minimize any service disruptions to the general public during moving dates, the City is asking the public to utilize as many online services as possible during this time in order to allow City departments to get settled into the new temporary “swing spaces.” Many online services for many City departments can be found on the City’s website at  www.bristolct.gov .

 The physical mailing address will remain as 111 North Main St., Bristol, CT 06010 for all City departments for the duration of the renovation project and individual department phone numbers will also remain the same. To access a full listing of all City departments, contacts, and phone numbers, visit the City’s website at  www.bristolct.gov .

Beginning in May 2022 the monthly City Council meetings will be held at the Board of Education Auditorium, located at 129 Church St. Other public meetings such as City Commissions and City Boards will be held in a temporary meeting room located in the former Bristol Courthouse “swing space” in addition to the Main Library meeting rooms. Meeting locations will be posted with meeting notices and agendas on the City’s website. The location of some meetings may change as required to accommodate a larger number of participants, therefore please be sure to check meeting agendas for meeting locations. You may sign up to receive meeting notices through the City’s website at: http://www.ci.bristol.ct.us/list.aspx#agendaCenter.

 I would like to thank the community in advance for having patience while we all get settled into our new spaces in order to best serve the public during the next 15 to 18 months. The end product of a newly-renovated City Hall is the first step in Bristol’s resurgence of a newer and better Downtown.

Jeff Caggiano is mayor of Bristol.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Column, General News on Monday, 7 March 2022 21:15. Updated: Monday, 7 March 2022 21:17.