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The Road to Somewhere: The Beginning

Construction of new road on former mall site

The Road to Somewhere is a series of articles that chronicle the redevelopment of the former mall site with the simple start of a road. 

The beginning is defined as the point in time or space at which something starts.

Why is this road so important?

Once again, the beginning is defined as the point in time or space at which something starts.

Starts.

After 12 years — yes, 12 years —  of waiting for the former mall site to get redeveloped, the City finally broke ground on a new road — yet to be named  — on the former mall site.

On Oct. 3 that happened.

Mayor Ken Cockayne said “Today is an amazing day for Bristol. After sitting vacant for 12 years we have shovels in the ground and construction starting. This is just the beginning of the vibrant downtown.”

The Courant reported Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority saying “This is going to kickstart downtown development”.

The Press also quoted Malley, “The city doesn’t do this every day, especially a road that’s so important to the city and sort of unique, and really kick-starts the downtown development.”

Justin Malley and his amazing team at the Bristol Development Authority diligently — shows care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties — continue to shine and makes a huge difference in Bristol — in the right direction.

The BDA will be essential — absolutely necessary; extremely important — in redeveloping the former mall site.

The beginning of the road started with Bristol Hospital purchasing a large portion of the former mall site.

The hospital plans to construct a 60,000 square foot two-story building that will house an Ambulatory Care Center.

The building is expected to employ dozens of medical professionals while servicing thousands of patients downtown.

Chris Boyle head of communications for Bristol Hospital said “Today’s groundbreaking for the road on the Centre Square project is an exciting early step for the Centre Square project. Bristol Hospital is hoping to break ground on its Ambulatory Care Center before the end of the year. But today’s event kicked off the sight of dump trucks and tractors that is long overdue for the residents of Bristol.”

The new road will be about 1,000 feet long and contain many streetscape components including trees, brick pavers, a center median made of “stamped asphalt,” decorative lights, landscaping, granite curbing, and a bus stop location.

The road will match the current look of North Main and Main Streets. The City will also update the traffic signal at North Main Street and Laurel streets.

The new approach for the former mall site is a dynamic, pedestrian-oriented downtown that supports new retail, housing, office, and/or recreational opportunities.

The beginning starts with Bristol Hospital. Thank you for saving countless lives and saving downtown Bristol.

Beginning and starts sound great to me. It’s music to my ears.

Speaking of music, no one can predict the outcome of revitalizing downtown Bristol.

It might take a 1964 Petula Clark song called “Downtown” to provide the experience of what downtown Bristol could be again.

I’ll end this edition of The Road to Somewhere with the lovely Petula Clark and rare footage of downtown Bristol.

Stay tuned for the next edition of The Road to Somewhere.

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