Main Street Facade & Signage Improvements

This project would allow us to work with businesses, property owners, and the town and state in making facade improvements and new or improved business signage feasible for all Main Street commercial buildings. This would enhance the overall aesthetic by working with individual business and property owners to update to custom hanging signs where possible. We would also like to include facade painting and/or maintenance for buildings in need.

  • Work with businesses, property owners, town and state in making facade improvements and new or improved business signage feasible for all Main Street commercial buildings
    • Enhancing the overall aesthetic by working with individual biz/prop to update to custom hanging signs where possible
    • Expand/enhance branding and visibility for businesses
    • Fresh painting and/or maintenance for buildings in need
  • Specifically begin working out a plan for the Hatch Block building, our single eyesore

  • Bristol is particularly lucky to have a full Main Street, including 2nd floor office and living spaces. The condition and appearance of the buildings and signage, however, are mixed, ranging from freshly painted to weather-worn to unsightly and new, attractive signage to poorly executed or old signage to none at all. Improving upkeep and aesthetic considerations would enhance the look of the entire street.
  • Town Plan –
    • Economic Development: Policies 11, 20
      • Encourage efforts to improve the downtown retail and business climate.
      • Encourage property owners to search for innovative and\or affordable ways in which access to individual businesses and retail establishments can be improved or altered.
  • Ends Statement – All buildings on Main Street will have facades that look well-maintained, and businesses will have unique, attractive signage that also contributes to a cohesive “look” for the whole street. Businesses will enjoy increased traffic as visitors are attracted by the fresh look.

  • Main Street, and nearby, buildings and associated retail/office facades and signs.

  • Team – Primary: Design, Secondary: Economic Development
  • Partners – The following municipal bodies and local organizations are likely to be involved:
    • Selectboard, Design Review Board
    • Property owners & business owners
    • Revolving Loan Fund
    • Small Business Development Center
  • Beneficiaries – Downtown business owners will see increased visitor traffic as their buildings appear more well-maintained, their signage more attractive, and the street as a whole more welcoming. Property owners with improved buildings will find it easier to attract and retain tenants.

  • Participate with Bristol CORE
  • Potential Funding Sources
    • Revolving Loan Fund
    • Downtown and Village Center Tax Credits
    • Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit
    • State Historic Preservation Grants
  • Timeline – estimate of what might happen each year from 1-5 to move this project toward completion
    • 2016 – summer walkabout, inventory buildings and businesses “in need,” start talking with Revolving Loan Fund about specifically incorporating and encouraging facade improvements in their lending
    • 2017 – hopefully start seeing some projects get underway


Downtown Economic Development Plan

This project sees us working with the new Town Economic Development director to develop a comprehensive plan that recognizes the unique needs of the Downtown within the larger context of the town as a whole.

  • Work with new Town Economic Development director to develop a comprehensive plan recognizing the unique needs of the Downtown within the larger context of the town as a whole
  • Market study?
  • Time for another community needs survey?
  • Coordinate with new business park, Regional Planning Commission
  • Collaborate with video project developer to customize media for Ec Dev goal enhancement

  • Current Conditions – Bristol does not currently have a comprehensive economic development strategy, though the Selectboard has allocated a part-time staff position to Economic Development beginning July 2016. There are few local developers and no physical space available in the downtown for new development.
  • Town Plan – Relevant support in the Town Plan includes:
    • Vision Statement: The town will have a healthy, local economy. The local economy will include businesses that are diverse, energy efficient, and compact. The economic climate will foster locally owned and entrepreneurial enterprises. Employment opportunities will be stable and will provide competitive wages. These businesses will place minimum demands on municipal services, emphasize recycling and conservation, and provide meaningful work without limits to career growth. There will be competitive returns on investment for employers and businesses. Businesses will often provide a type of economic growth that conserves or even restores environmental quality. These businesses will be attracted to the economic opportunities and quality of life in Bristol. They will rarely require local tax credits or incentives. Many businesses will add value to locally produced renewable natural resources.
    • Economic Development: Goals 1-3, Policies 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 17, 18, 20
      • Goals
      • 1. Bristol will attract and maintain businesses, including agricultural and farm-based businesses that are consistent with the town’s character.
      • 2. Bristol employers will provide wages that are comparable to wages paid elsewhere in Addison County and Vermont.
      • 3. Bristol will provide a favorable climate for light industry development that is appropriate for, beneficial to, and acceptable by the community.
      • Policies
      • 1. Support continued appropriate-scale commercial activity in Bristol’s downtown.
      • 2. Support the development of tourism-related enterprises that are appropriate to the town’s character and scale.
      • 3. Encourage retention of existing businesses and cultivate new businesses.
      • 5. Support business education and assistance programs and the dissemination of their services. These programs include the Small Business Development Center in Middlebury, the Vermont Women’s Business Center, the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Bristol Downtown Community Partnership, and the Addison County Economic Development Corporation.
      • 6. Encourage citizens and town government to purchase goods and services from local businesses.
      • 11. Encourage efforts to improve the downtown retail and business climate.
      • 12. Encourage an economic climate that retains and attracts businesses.
      • 17. Pursue and encourage a balanced economic base while ensuring the economic stability of Bristol residents.
      • 18. Promote the availability of modern communication infrastructure for business and residences.
      • 20. Encourage property owners to search for innovative and\or affordable ways in which access to individual businesses and retail establishments can be improved or altered.
    • Energy: Policy 8, Task 5
      • Encourage and publicize for businesses the Vermont Economic Development Authorities low interest loans for efficiency improvements or investments.
      • Facilitate the use of Efficiency Vermont’s services to Bristol’s businesses and industries.
  • Ends Statement – As a part of this process, both the town and Bristol CORE will develop a more comprehensive sense of our current economic climate, goals for improving it in the future, and strategies to get there. Barriers to meeting community employment needs will be identified, as well as potential strategies to overcome them. Current businesses will become more aware of the resources available to them to improve their business performance and more will take advantage of those resources.

  • Downtown Bristol, within context of town as a whole

  • Team – Primary: Economic Development; Secondary: Promotions
  • Partners – The following municipal bodies and local organizations are likely to be involved:
    • Eric Forand, Bristol Zoning Administrator and Economic Development
    • Kevin Harper, local entrepreneur and developer (BristolWorks!, Stoney Hill Properties)
    • Addison County Economic Development Corporation
    • Vermont SBDC, Middlebury
    • Bristol Revolving Loan Fund
    • Marianne Eaton, local videographer
    • Vermont Futures Project
  • Beneficiaries – community members, existing businesses, potential new businesses, town

  • Participate with Bristol CORE
  • Funding Sources
    • Municipal – new funding for Economic Development staff position
    • Community Development Block Grant
    • Regional Economic Development Grant Program
    • Municipal Planning Grant Program
  • Timeline –
    • Year 1 – new town Ec Dev position begins, exploration of how that will work; discussion among new Ec Dev staff, Bristol CORE, local developer and businesses and Marianne Eaton about customizing video products to promote Bristol and its businesses


Comprehensive Bristol Signage improvements

This project will replace and re-site all “Welcome to Bristol” entryway signs in three locations on the outskirts of Bristol. At the same time we would like to develop and implement a complementary set of wayfinding signs in the village and Downtown, and re-site the tourist information kiosk from Howden Hall to Holley Hall.

  • Replace and re-site “Welcome to Bristol” entryway signs
  • Develop and implement complementary wayfinding signs in the village and Downtown
  • Re-site tourist information kiosk

  • Current Conditions – Bristol has 3 large “welcome” signs sited on the way into town from the north (Monkton Rd), west (Stoney Hill/116/17), and east (116/17) and a single tourist information kiosk (provided by the Addison County Chamber of Commerce) located at Howden Hall on West Street. The welcome signs are now around 10 years old and showing their age; the kiosk was renovated a few years ago but is not kept up to date and the location is no longer the most advantageous or convenient. Many attractions or amenities in town require someone to ask for directions rather than being easily found with a simple signage system.
  • Town Plan – not currently seeing anything specifically relevant… perhaps some of the same pieces from the Transportation section about pedestrian improvements, etc.?
  • Inspiration – Starksboro and Monkton both have recently completed new welcome signs that are much more attractive and attention getting. A system of smaller signs similar to the symbols used by the VT Dept of Transportation official business directional signage system could be used in conjunction with the welcome sign and within the village to point visitors to various amenities – library, hiking trails, historical interest, arts, lodging, etc.
  • Ends Statement – New welcome signs will be more attractive and adjusted siting (particularly moving the western sign to the corner of 116/17) will make them more visible for visitors at crucial decision points resulting in higher visitor traffic to the downtown. Visitors will be more attracted to stop within the downtown by wayfinding signage that indicates the variety of amenities and attractions Bristol has to offer and will be able to find those locations easily. A re-sited kiosk (most likely near Holley Hall) will be tied into the wayfinding system and make more detailed information available in a convenient location.

  • Town of Bristol, Downtown Designation area in particular

  • Team – Primary: Design
  • Partners – The following municipal bodies and local organizations are likely to be involved:
    • Selectboard, Planning Commission, Zoning, Highway Department, Design Review Board
    • State Dept of Transportation
  • Beneficiaries – Visitors to Bristol will be better able to recognize their arrival and find the amenities they are looking for. Downtown businesses will benefit by higher visitor traffic as more folks are enticed to stop in town by more attractive signage, more visible range of amenities, and ease of navigation.

  • Participate with Bristol CORE
  • Funding Sources
    • Downtown Transportation Fund?
    • Municipal?
  • Timeline
    • Year 1 – work with Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator and VTrans to determine potential new siting for Welcome signs; research signage rules; determine amenities and locations categories, decide method for new welcome sign design determination (rfp, contest, select an artist/designer, etc.)
    • Year 2 – issue RFP for wayfinding signage system


Bristol Trail Network

Bristol CORE is a partner in the Bristol Recreation Club Bristol Trail Network (BTN) project.

The mission of the Bristol Trail Network is to create and maintain trails around Bristol

… to promote access to and appreciation for natural, historical, and cultural resources in the vicinity & to support the recreation and education of residents and visitors alike

… to foster human connections within our community, tie us all more closely to our landscape, and enhance Bristol’s potential as an all-seasons destination for recreation and tourism.

For more information visit: http://www.bristolrecclub.org/bristol-trail-network.html

 



Sidewalk Beautification Expansion

This project will update the Main Street sidewalks to match the new aesthetic introduced in the 2016 Main Street intersection construction. We would also evaluate upgrading the Main Street lamp posts and their current installation to improve longevity. The ‘traditional’ Main Street lighting could also be expanded along South St, North St, and one “block” further East and West. We would also encourage incorporation of green stormwater improvements at the same time, as well as additional pedestrian safety improvements.

  • Update Main Street sidewalks to match new aesthetic at intersection. Evaluate upgrading lamp posts and installation to improve longevity.
  • Expand those upgrades to South St, North St, and one “block” further East and West.
  • Additional pedestrian safety improvements.
  • Encourage incorporation of green stormwater improvements at the same time.

  • Current Conditions – Current Main Street brick tree lawn feature has settled over time, creating a tripping hazard and fertile place for weeds to grow. Current Main Street lamp posts are showing significant wear and damage due to proximity to street salt and to snow removal blades.Only the Town Green, Intersection, and Main Street share coherent aesthetics – matching lampposts, ample sidewalk, granite curbing. The historic look of the downtown, as well as pedestrian safety, could be enhanced by the expansion of this aesthetic throughout the downtown district.
  • Town Plan – Relevant support in the Town Plan includes:
    • Transportation: Goal 4, Policies 5 and 6, Task 4; from text
      • Bristol will have infrastructure so that people can walk and bicycle safely along town roads.
      • Encourage bicycle use and walking whenever possible and develop sidewalks and pedestrian and bicycle lanes where appropriate.
      • Provide cost-effective system maintenance and improvements that promote safety, preservation, and hazard mitigation on a priority basis.
      • Work to make the town, particularly the private sector in the downtown,
        and in the development of additional so-called hamlet areas,
        pedestrian-friendly and more accessible to people with disabilities.
      • In general, the municipal infrastructure appears to be well-built and readily
        accessible. In the planning and design for additional or replacement sidewalks, it is recommended that the width, where possible, be a minimum of five feet. However, because of the existing structural limitations on many of the older buildings on Main Street, it is recognized that there is need for improved accessibility to some businesses in that area.
    • Economic Development: Policy 20
      • Encourage property owners to search for innovative and\or affordable
        ways in which access to individual businesses and retail establishments
        can be improved or altered. ○ Land Use: Policy 6
      • Maintain a pedestrian-friendly compact downtown.
    • Inspiration – The type of major improvements that Vergennes was able to make to sidewalks and building entrances all along its Main Street would be our dream outcome, though highly unlikely to be realizable in Bristol.
    • Ends Statement – When completed, the Downtown Designation area will have a coherent visual identity which will encourage pedestrians to think of Bristol’s downtown as more than “just Main Street.” New sidewalks, lights, and other improvements will also enhance pedestrian safety and access to facilities and businesses.

  • Sidewalk areas to be considered for improvements:
    • Main Street – main block, plus north side from #28 to Mountain Street
    • South Street – east side from intersection down to #6
    • West Street – from intersection to Howden Hall
    • North Street – east side from intersection to #26
    • Mountain Street – west side from Main Street to #5
    • Park Street – north side

  • Team – Primary: Design
  • Partners – The following municipal bodies and local organizations are likely to be involved:
    • Town – Selectboard, Highway Department, Energy Committee
    • Designation area property owners
    • New co-housing community on North Street
  • Beneficiaries – When complete, improvements will enhance pedestrian safety and access to businesses and facilities. Businesses in the downtown but not on the single Main Street block will benefit from increased traffic as the more attractive and visually coherent walkways entice pedestrians to explore further off Main Street.

  • Participate with Bristol CORE
  • Funding Sources
    • Municipal budget
    • Municipal Planning Grant
    • Downtown Transportation Fund
    • VTrans Transportation Alternative Program
    • VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
    • VTrans/ACCD Strong Communities, Better Connections Program
  • Timeline – estimate of what might happen each year from 1-5 to move this project toward completion
    • 2016 – research costs, funding, talk with town about prioritization, talk with property owners
    • 2017 – Main Street work is currently on the Town’s calendar; may be only for brickwork and granite curb area, not actual sidewalks
    • Years 3-5 – apply for funding for first priority section, and on