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.

[rescue_tab title=”WHAT”]

  • 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

[rescue_tab title=”WHY”]

  • 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.

[rescue_tab title=”WHERE”]

  • Downtown Bristol, within context of town as a whole


[rescue_tab title=”WHO”]

  • 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

[rescue_tab title=”HOW”]

  • 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