To The Daily Sun,
Voters and citizens of Bristol thank you for your support. For the last three years I have been serving the town and its citizens as a member of the Selectboard. This has been a sometimes frustrating but also rewarding few years and I can say that I hope to have served you all well. In my term, I have seen some changes for the better and some for the worse but mostly positive movement toward a better community.
My main goal was to bring transparency and prioritization to the issues that face our community. I can say that Selectboard deliberations have been happening with more transparency, though at times these were fiery debates and sometimes without closure or full agreement on decisions. I believe there is great value for the town in having varied opinions in those serving in positions on the board. It guarantees the citizens of our community due diligence and well thought out decisions.
Some would say that nothing got done in these last three years, but thanks to Bristol voters, board consideration and oversight, the diligent work of our great employees as well as some dedicated volunteers and collaborating community organizations, the list below indicates that much has been achieved:
— Central Square Project completed, offering safer pedestrian access to downtown, improved water and sewer infrastructure and a great gathering space for special events like the Christmas tree lighting and Making it in Bristol.
— In response to community and downtown businesses, a return to angle in parking in Central Square Minot-Sleeper Library addition completed.
— Kelley Park improvements, including new design and equipment to the playground, new T-ball field, and move to contracted maintenance for continued enhancement of the park for community events and enjoyment.
— A settlement of the foot of the lake beach case in favor of the town.
— Old Town Hall Restoration Project, progression with initial roof, guano and mold mitigation, sills work and exterior painting completed and interior work on floors, ceiling, paint slated for Spring; this recently awarded National Historic Register building will continue serve the community for another century or more.
— Continued progression with Safe Routes to School projects for sidewalk improvements along School Street, North Main Street, and Mayhew Street, with the work anticipated to begin in spring 2016.
— Installation of new and unique Welcome to Bristol signs by artist Karen Bush.
— Support for community economic development, with establishment of an Economic Development Task Force producing a business database, business survey, potential commercial development land database, a business brochure, business checklist and commitment to form an Economic Development Committee to further efforts to improve business development and retention in Bristol.
— Adoption of 79 E to assist revitalization in Central Square and finalization of town's application process with deliberation and approval of first application for property at 12 Central Square.
— Creation of several additional Central Street parking spaces through collaboration with a Spring Street property owner.
— After more than 20 years of failed action or inaction, discussion and movement toward action on space needs and space deficiencies in the Police Department and Town Offices, with warrant articles for consideration at the 2016 Town Meeting with hopes to have support for project in 2017.
— Continued progress towards development of a multi-use trail connecting Central Square south to Profile Falls.
— Joining surrounding towns in opposition to both industrial wind-turbine projects along the ridgelines around Newfound Lake and filing intervener status for Northern Pass.
— Institution, revision and attention to town investment, grants, bartering and purchasing policies.
— Recommendation and support for revolving, capital reserve and other funds for long term purchasing and specialized spending.
— Numerous equipment purchases for Public Works and Public Safety departments.
— Oversight and management of the day-to-day operations of the town.
There is still much to do to complete some of the items on this list that can only happen with the support of Town Meeting voters and newly elected officials. There is also a lot more in the wings to be considered. This is our community and its future is ours to design. It is important for all of us to participate in the governmental and economic future of Bristol. Your voice is your vote so hopefully I will see you at the polls on March 8th and at our next Town Meeting on Saturday, March 12th.
Again thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you these last three years.
Janet F. Cote