By LISA CAPOBIANCO
More activity may be percolating in downtown Bristol next year, as the city and Bristol chamber is planning on using a portion of Depot Square for community events.
During a Bristol Development Authority meeting held last Monday, Mayor Ken Cockayne announced that the city and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce are working on a tentative plan to use a part of the former mall site as “green space.” With assistance from Public Works and the Parks departments, as well as BDA Executive Director Justin Malley, the chamber will take the lead on the initiative, which most likely will involve using the corner of Riverside Avenue and North Main Street to host community activities, said Cockayne.
“We’re placing it in a location away from the proposed work of Renaissance,” said Malley during the meeting.
Although the details are still being worked out, Jim Albert, president and CEO of the chamber said there are currently 10 to 12 acres of open space available on the Depot Square property that would not interfere with the development proposal of Renaissance Downtowns for Building B (facing Main Street), which would consist of 140 rental residential units, along with retail space and a public piazza.
The idea would be to use the corner of Riverside Avenue and North Main Street to create a semi-circle, amphitheater “green space” for different events like movie nights, stage plays, and concerts, said Albert.
Meanwhile, the remaining portion of that available space could be used for other possible events, including farmers markets, flea markets, or other concerts, said Albert.
Albert said it is a good idea to ignite some activity downtown before Depot Square is fully developed. He added that this kind of initiative not only enhances economic development, but also promotes community development, as it will bring more people to downtown Bristol.
“It brings people downtown,” said Albert, adding the project also would bring more community pride. “It highlights different chamber businesses that may be involved in these events.”
Albert said the next step of pushing the initiative forward includes working with Public Works and the Parks departments to determine green space measurements. Albert added another part of the project involves resurrecting the “Interservice Council,” which formerly existed over a decade ago. This council would consist of at least one representative from each social group or club in the community. The goal would be to view each group’s calendar to determine how its spring and summer events would fit into other community events held downtown, said Albert.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO