Letter: Marina critical to take advantage of Bristol’s greatest asset
A painstaking effort has gone into planning out many details of our great town of Bristol.
Much effort goes into our great schools and our amazingly responsive public safety. Our Fourth of July parade gets hundreds of volunteers and has endured and thrived over the years. Our firefighters, many of them unpaid, are proud to serve and are a testament to the selflessness of our citizenry. We have an abundance of skill and planning in these areas and are quite blessed.
Our marina and the use of our precious waterfront by our townspeople has not been defined as well as these other areas of local pride. Our great asset has not been looked upon in a highest use for the greater good. Currently, there are few slips and a very small transient staging area for visiting boats.
The Maritime Center being completed last fall at the old armory building is providing wifi services and showers to wayward boaters. It also is a welcome center and our outreach to visitors.This is a positive first step. Often in business, a good first step without any completion of complementary pieces can lead to failure and resentment.
A great example of this is our now closed Visitor Center in the Burnside building. Many efforts were made to help sustain a visitors Center, only to see it rolled into a regional center. Completion of that Maritime Center is near and is likely reliant upon use. That step can’t be taken without securing the gem in our waterfront mix of planning.
A crown jewel in our amazing town would be a marina. This plan not only serves boaters, but it fits within our framework quite well. Our bike path ends at Quito’s waterfront and becomes a walking path that ends at Thames wharf to the boat ramp at the bottom of State street. To walk from that spot, one must traverse State street’s parking and boat ramp. Not an easy task for our more elderly folk. Our marine tradesman, boaters and bikepath folk who wish to use the waterfront are shut out. The flow of walking and biking traffic is stifled. Our downtown business likely suffers because of this unclear flow pattern downtown.
The proposed marina and boardwalk with an extension of the bike path creates a uniformity that enhances the entire feeling of being down town. I admit I am a boater and am on the waiting list for a proposed slip, so I am partial. However, I know many people who are not boaters who understand how important it is that we take steps to ensure our most precious resource is strengthened and highlighted for generations of proud Bristolians.
281 Hope St.