To the Editor:
This letter is in response to the two letters written by Peter J. DelMastro, whoo thinks it is premature to decide the fate of Memorial Boulevard School. Thy have been studying this since 2008. We are famous at studying things to death and then we do nothing. We are now in 2017. So why is it premature? Something should have been done years ago. It is time to make a decision and act on it. The renovation of the auditorium would be a great asset to the city. Having a performing arts center would help draw people into town. I have been to many theaters in Connecticut, including Hartford Stage, The Bushnell and the Goodspeed Opera House.
Why can’t Bristol have something similar in our city? Once you start to attract people, you can build up ancillary businesses like restaurants and shops. I know I have gone out to eat before going to the theater. There is a meeting on March 20 at 6:30 in the council chambers to discuss the Memorial Boulevard School. I think the citizens of Bristol should pack city hall and voice their opinions at this meeting.
As for the blight in town, I was at the last finance meeting. I would like Peter Del Mastro to prove his numbers. At the meeting, I heard about one property that cost about $20,000 to tear down. The property was then sold for $3,000. That is a loss of $17,000. I have an accounting degree so I am familiar with how some aspects of finance work. As an example, if you have a house on a property, the house is assessed for property taxes and the property is also assessed. If the house is assessed at $120,000 and the property is assessed at $60,000, the total assessment for taxes would be $180,000. Once you tear down the house, the property assessment will now only be for $60,000. So the loss of assessment value on this one house would be $120,000. My understanding is that he has torn down at least 60 houses. This means to all tax payers in Bristol that there is less tax money coming in to the city. My understanding is that the tax roll has decreased by $2.4 million. Why is blight more important than education and classroom size? It seems to me that the mayor has no vision or plan for the city.
As for the development of downtown, the mall was torn down in 2008. There have been no shovels in the ground to redevelop this spot. Why does Bristol Hospital get the prime spot of the downtown development? My understanding is that they are relocating offices around town into one office building. So we are not getting new people into town, just relocating into one building. How is this supposed to attract new people to downtown? When are we going to attract developers into this downtown project who will act on developing the land? This is a waste of taxpayer money. Let’s see some real action. Develop downtown now!