Committee unveils Economic Development Action Plan with goal of making Bristol a better place to live, invest and visit
BAdvance correspondent RISTOL BOROrdH - Ten months in the making, the town’s Economic Development Strategic Action Plan was unveiled June 17 at a special council meeting at borough hall. Bill Pezza, chairman of the committee, spoke to a standingroom-only crowd about the 61 suggestions that the planning committee believes are the best ways to make Bristol a good place to live, invest, and visit.
The plan is “fluid,” Pezza said, meaning that as some goals are met, others will be put in their place. He cited work that the government has already completed: paved streets, new traffic signals, new equipment and maintenance building and other projects that modernized the infrastructure of the town.
“The borough successfully built the ‘’old bones’’ of the town’s infrastructure. [The committees’ workz is not a criticism of the council. vou can’t do it all,” he said.
The plan outlines goals that Pezza hopes will be implemented over the next five years. Following a 40-minute power point presentation, council members, then residents, were invited to as questions, express concerns, and offer suggestions.
One major concern that many borough officials believe tarnishes the borough’s image is the prevalence of absentee landlords, and a lengthy discussion followed on how to address the problem. Council President Ralph Diduiseppe believes that the time has come to crack down on the problem through citations and stepped-up inspections.
The use-and-occupancy ordinance is another weapon the borough could use to ensure rental properties meet safety and visual standards.
“Absentee landlords have no Diduiseppe said.
Council Members (dreg) Pezza, Lorraine Cullen and Betty Rodriguez called for hiring a part-time inspector, a move they believe would help keep track of, and take action on, errant landlords and homeowners who neglect their properties.
“We’re not trying to make money off of people [by imposing fines}. We’d rather see properties cleaned up,” Rodriguez said.
Councilmen Tony Devine, Pat Sabatini, and Leo Plenski were absent.
Diduiseppe and other council Members, Robyn Trunell, Betty Rodriguez, dreg Pezza all expressed positive reac-
this town,” tions to the report, which outlined a variety of measures to improve the town and enhance its marketability. The committee broke down the suggestions into 10 “pillars,” or categories on whch action could be taken.
They include building up borough neighborhoods and infrastructure, and creating financial tools and incentives to support purchase and rehabilitation of run-down homes. Federal tax incentives of historic buildings and first-time home buyer incentives are already available, Pezza said.
Building and creating a vibrant business district, uniform enforcement of borough laws and regulations, preserving Bristol’s historic heritage, and working with the school district to address problems and create programs that raise the schools’ academic performance were included in the report.
Other items addressed included: creating a theater district, which would include the blocks surrounding the Bristol Riverside Theatre; expanding the Bristol Borough Business Association to include several hundred other businesses and professional offices in town; and working to defer “additional assessed valuation and taxes associated with actual reconstruction costs.
To see the complete list of suggestions on the report, visit www.buckslocalnews.com