Brittany Lynne Barney
What would you like to see happen with Memorial Boulevard School?
Memorial Boulevard School is a pillar of our community and a space I believe is necessary to be preserved for the residents of Bristol. I truly believe that the theater, if given the proper resources and attention, could be a cultural hub for Bristol helping to draw crowds to our downtown to support local business. In order for the theater to be supported and to thrive it will need a partner. Since the proposal has been issued for a magnet school, I have found myself attracted to that idea. I feel that would be the best case scenario for Bristol as it would provide even more opportunity for the children of our community all while protecting the historic integrity of the entire building. I know what I don’t want to see and that is for a developer to come in and take advantage of the city by abusing the building and not properly preserving it.
How do you feel about the progress of revitalizing the city’s downtown? What more should or can be done?
I feel that we have not made adequate progress when it comes to revitalizing our downtown. I think in order to have a successful revitalization, we need to take a holistic approach, focusing on the entire city, not just downtown. In order to attract new entrepreneurs and businesses we need to make sure that the brand of Bristol is strong by investing in our marketing and making sure there are plenty of positive things happening in town. We need to be aggressive in developing a long term plan for where our city will end up in the future so that we can attract the right types of businesses to make an investment in that future with us. The general theme I see with the center square parcel is that there needs to be more leadership and development of a plan in order to truly see a thriving downtown.
Which phrase do you agree with… Bristol is a city on the rise or Bristol is a city in stagnation? Why do you feel that way? If it’s on the rise, what can be done to ensure that direction is maintained? If you feel it’s stagnant, how can we get ourselves “unstuck?”
I do feel that Bristol is not currently a city on the rise, or at least not rising as quickly as it could. I do believe that we have a great city, one that I am proud of, but it would be a falsehood to say that Bristol is a city on the rise. I feel that unfortunately Bristol is notorious for kicking the can down the road, at least over the past 10 to 15 years. The downtown parcel has been vacant for almost a third of my life. Memorial Boulevard School sits for years and years as the price to improve it only increases with every wasted minute. Businesses are leaving and moving to neighboring cities and towns and we struggle to replace them. Bristol is so much stronger than what we have currently been achieving. Our citizens care so much about this place and want to see it succeed. It’s time for us to truly work together and take decisive action and invest in our future.