This month I want to highlight a few business openings, closings and demolitions in our city. We will also highlight several projects currently occurring that mix a bit of each of these.
First, Ruby Tuesdays on the Bristol/Farmington border on Route 6 has recently been demolished in order to make room for two new businesses, Starbucks and Chipotle. This Starbucks store will be more geared toward a drive through operation. There are no plans to change anything with the store in Bristol Plaza. Chipotle is a brand new offering in Bristol with new fast casual option. Construction of both new businesses will begin soon and the developer is slated to hand over the buildings to both businesses by the end of the year.
Several houses and the commercial building on the corner of Route 72/69 in West End will be demolished to make room for an improved traffic flow on CT Route 72. The project is slated to begin with staging and utility work on Divinity Street later this fall. This long awaited project will include major streetscape and safety enhancements. This will obviously affect traffic and homeowners/businesses for a while. However, the city has acquired an abandoned empty lot in the area to provide business parking during the construction phase. The West End intersection project will consist of moving CT Route 69 to the north, reducing the size of the existing City parking lot, dead ending Divinity Street west of the intersection, interconnecting Divinity Street and Park Street by extending Pratt Street and constructing a new/larger parking lot in the north-west corner of the intersection.
Unfortunately we had two significant business closures in Bristol this month. We wish the best for those workers that will be displaced from Marilyn’s and also Barnes, who announced that they will shut down their manufacturing plant over the next year. The question is how can we can re-train and provide new jobs for those displaced? Bristol Works, a job training center, will be able to offer a series of certificate programs for those unemployed and underemployed. This exciting new project was funded through an ARPA grant from the city and could be training students by January 2023. Classes will focus on certificates in several key job growth areas. These areas will change with economic needs, but currently will focus on early childhood education, healthcare, information technology and manufacturing.
On a slightly different note, recently the city had to tear down a residence at 287 Round Hill Road. After several years of COVID we have stepped up our enforcement and will be focusing more diligently on blight in the city. The action to take down a home only becomes necessary when owners can’t maintain structures that are safe and presentable. Our goal is always to bring homes and businesses in compliance and in many cases we are seeing positive results. Our current ordinances are in place to protect both homeowners and tax payers. For questions on our ordinances or building codes please refer to our city website or call my office at 860-584-6250.
Jeffrey Caggiano is the mayor of Bristol