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The Road to Somewhere: Q&A With Mayor Zoppo-Sassu

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu

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. Road to Somewhere also covers community comments and political commentary.

As the winter weather season is upon us, the new road has taken somewhat of a slowdown. Don’t get me wrong, work continues but at a pace weather permitting.

During this slow period, I asked Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu some questions about the project and where it stands now and in the coming future.

Since taking office again what have you learned about the project. Anything new?

The TIF Financing — Tax increment financing is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects  — is something we are pushing so there is an extra financing tool in the toolbox.  Also… the Downtown Grant program was developed with Centre Square in mind.

Before the new road is complete, does the city have an investor already lined up? If you can’t answer, a simple yes or no is fine. However if no please explain why!

Based on the question, the simple answer here is yes we have Bristol Hospital and Rendina Healthcare “lined up” as investors for approximately 4 acres of the property.

As for additional partners, discussions continue. The road is necessary because Bristol Hospital requires access, and the construction of the roadway is part of the Purchase & Sales agreement with Bristol Hospital.

Also, the road is necessary to provide access to the entire site, including future development.

Does the city have a new name for the road?

No new name. There are no plans on what to do with this yet.  There are all sorts of ways we can tackle this one.  We have done a community “contest” for naming Centre Square in the past. That has its benefits and drawbacks.

Thanks Mrs. Mayor for the update!

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 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.

I’ll end this edition of The Road to Somewhere with a video by Grace Gagnon who reported on Zoppo-Sassu being the first female mayor of Bristol.

While it’s unrelated to downtown, it shows a clear vision our newly elected Mayor has in helping existing businesses succeed and filling vacant locations that will help downtown even more.

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

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