A couple of weeks ago I attended the monthly meeting of the West End Association at the Riverview Apartments on Laurel Street. I’ve been a member of the Association since 2012 and go to meetings when I can, as well as events like the Rockwell Park Summer Festival. This meeting was a special one, however. Representatives from the CT Department of Transportation (DOT) along with Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and countless local business owners and residents joined us to discuss the  potential plans and issues surrounding the Route 72 realignment through the West End.

My blog this month won’t serve to go into any great detail on this proposal, but instead to give an overview of some of the potential issues and discussed solutions. While actual construction and realignment isn’t slotted for another several years, the studies are happening now. The essential idea proposed is to flow traffic more smoothly from Pine Street to Riverside joining this section with Park Street. How?

Do we look to existing businesses to move their locations? Probably not, from a cost and traffic standpoint. How about cutting through Brackett Park? (the crowd favorite.) Well, while that seems most viable for a direct route, DOT officials explained that while the park is small and maybe not used to its full potential, it’s still CT green space, and must be replaced in kind with new green space. That raises the question of what to do with the row of multi-family homes at the beginning of Park St. adjacent to the Wah Lung property. Can those … SHOULD those, be demolished? Bought out? Clearing those buildings would create a riverfront green space. There were even talks about further opening our buried river along other sections of the downtown.

(click on photo to expand)                     The specific reason I’m opting to not give any one opinion on the topic is that a straighter road as the crow flies doesn’t mean a straighter or simpler path to tackling the change and demolition of existing parks and properties.

We have to decide as a city what’s best for the greater good and a more convenient, modern flow of traffic. The Mayor would love to hear from residents on what they think would work… how the buildings in the West End are used or underutilized and what possible solutions they think would preserve the Boulevard and smoothly route our highway through the West End. What do you think?


The Annual Taste of Bristol restaurant tickets sold to the tune of almost 1000 tickets this year, raising about $4000 toward the Rockwell Park Summer Festival and providing nearly $800 in raffle prizes. Speaking of the Summer Festival, it’s scheduled for August 18th this year. If your local small business wants to rent a booth, it’s $40 for the day. Artisans, local services and are strongly encouraged to bring a true local flavor and talent to the festival. There are still some slots for bands and musicians, too. Food booths are $75 and food trucks are $125. The next public meeting of the West End Association will be Wednesday, July 11th at 7:00 pm at the Riverview Apartments.

Email me with your thoughts and questions about the West End Association or real estate in general. or follow my adventures on Facebook @sarahbjohnsonrealtor and Instagram @sarahjtherealtor

Sarah Johnson was born and raised in Bristol. She is a writer and a REALTOR® licensed in Connecticut, affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New England Properties in Farmington. She has been writing about and selling real estate since 2011. 860-462-3196

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