City moves forward on grant for downtown

Published on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:48
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL - The Town Council approved that Mayor Ken Cockayne can pursue a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for Centre Square infrastructure improvements.

The mayor will apply for grants that will be matched by a $2 million contribution from the city.

“Toward the end of last year, Dawn (Leger, grants administrator with the Bristol Development Authority) applied for a U.S. EDA grant that would fund infrastructure improvements on the site, including a traffic signal at the Laurel Street and North Main Street intersection and roadway work,” explained Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority at their meeting Monday. “The EDA has since got back to us and has invited us to proceed to this next step in the process. We have been working with Milone & MacBroom on a preliminary plan for the site and we hope to secure a grant several months from now that will help with several of the costs. I have been in touch with (U.S.) Sen. Chris Murphy’s office and he has been very supportive. He has high hopes for this project.”

“Dawn put a lot of work into this,” said Cockayne. “I have high hopes for all of this and I believe that we will be able to get the whole delegation behind it.”

“Milone & MacBroom presented their preliminary plan two weeks ago but the whole thing is still fluid,” said Malley. “Our goal is to support Bristol Hospital and other future development on the site while addressing parking and other issues. With the EDA grant, multiple things are being talked about each day; our whole staff is on it. Our Downtown Committee will be meeting in April and will have our master plan at that time. Things will probably have changed a bit as we move further along this process based on community input.”

“Too much input is a good problem to have,” said Cockayne. “This project has so much potential and the council and mayor’s office will be working closely together on it. People that I have talked to are generally pretty excited.”

“Our staff works very well together,” added Malley. “We are comfortable working together and people pick up the phone right away and are ready to go on it.”

“We have built up a lot of momentum and we want to keep it going,” said Cockayne. “We are still negotiating with the developer, but we are being watched in Connecticut and outside Connecticut to see how we develop our downtown to become more attractive to businesses.”

“Any grant money we can get to offset the costs is good,” said Councilor Tony D’Amato.

“That lot has sat empty for far too long,” added Councilor Jodi Zils Gagne. “It is good to see that we’re moving forward.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in Newington Town Crier, Bristol, General Business, General News on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:48. Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:50.