The long holiday weekend has allowed last week’s Bristol Rising meetup to sink in a bit. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it really was one of the most balanced and inspiring meetups we’ve ever had as there were a myriad of elements at play that spoke directly to Bristol Rising’s soul.
First, we were at the magical Carousel Museum, Bristol lore in and of itself. A local and historical place that is the very embodiment of the environment in which we want to proliferate and grow downtown. It was about time we got involved with Carousel, and it made for a very festive meeting place as you can tell from the pictures below. It was hard not feeling like we were whisked away to a long ago era, talking about revitalizing our town amidst the good natured Carousels. About the only thing missing was cotton candy, but even that you could have imagined.
After recognizing Wall of Famers Andy Adams, Charle’s ‘CC’ Cyr, and Kevin L, for their contributions the previous month we showed the Cash Mob video that we produced to show the crowd what a positive impact the event had on Mike’s Tortoise and the Hare, but to show that all the hard work is paying off and spinning off inspiration.
After fielding a few questions from the crowd Charlie Talamadge provided a development update regarding the special permitting process that is underway in conjunction with Phase 1 of development. That means the mall property is yet another step closer to not being an empty parking lot.
Next Sherree Gorneault from the City of Bristol’s Public Works Department (like their Facebook page! ) came up and gave a presentation on how PW’s would like to engage with the community better, as Bristol Rising has done, and even get into the realm of crowdsourcing some decisions down the line. That’s exciting stuff! So next time there is a budget cut or more money allocated to the budget, don’t be surprised if you are asked via Facebook how you would like to expand a particular service or do away with another. Looks like the participatory spirit is spreading to other aspects of the City. It’s pretty cool to see.
Then came Firefly Brewing Co., who is interested in opening a brewery in downtown Bristol. They came to meet and greet the community, share their plan for a particular old factory building, how they plan to integrate into the community, provide their offerings all over Bristol, and also the campaign they plan to launch to help them achieve that goal. People loved the Firefly team and the crew was even kind enough to bring a few samples for the crowd. We’ll certainly be hearing more from Firefly as we move forward!
Finally, the culmination of the event resulted in break out groups where groups were given a list of suggested retail options that were proposed by the community in a poll conducted via Bristol Rising last week. Meetup participants then added to the list and selected what they felt were the establishments they would most like to see downtown which would help compliment the data collected to date via the ideas page in what kinds of uses we all want downtown. We’re currently working on a way to revamp how Bristol Rising could help recruit those businesses and hope to share that with you this week. In the meantime, feel free to suggest places you like in the area here... the goal being to see if these business owners would would be interested in opening a complimentary location here.
All in all, a fantastic meetup. Inspiring, Collaborative. Growing. Building. And productive.