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Bristol completes Phase One of Prince Lane renovation

BRISTOL — Downtown Bristol is a little spiffier — and safer for pedestrians — now that a renovation of the Prince Lane area is complete.
The $300,000 project was completely financed through state, federal and private grants. Taxpayers did not shoulder any of the burden. Construction firm Wright and Morrisey, of South Burlington, broke ground in July and completed the project last week.
“It went very smoothly and was done on time,” project administrator Carol Wells said, adding that she has heard nothing but positive feedback from residents and town officials.
The project addresses aesthetic as well as safety concerns. Many residents considered the exposed Dumpsters to be an eyesore, and Bristol police have documented numerous fender-benders in the parking lot over the years. New fencing conceals the Dumpsters, while crosswalks and narrowed driving lanes limit where cars can drive.
Wells said at first sight, the improvements may not look like much, but noted that many of the improvements were not immediately obvious, like burying power lines or improving drainage.
 “It was more complicated than it might look,” she said. “There was a lot that needed to be done under the surface.”
Wells thanked property owners and merchants for cooperating with the construction crew, which helped the project finish on time and on budget.
“They were accommodating and helpful,” Wells said. “Sometimes the buildings had to be open at 7 a.m. so the electrician could get in.”
There is a second phase of the project, which would add sidewalks from North Street to the Rite Aid pharmacy and from Rite Aid to Shaw’s supermarket, as well as curb islands in the parking lot. Real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau has verbally committed to funding the second phase, Wells said, but that part of the project is not yet in the planning stages.
The project was divided into two phases because a limited amount of grant funds and private donations were available this year.
Wells noted that property owners along Main Street plan to make other aesthetic improvements, now that the construction is complete.
 “It’s only going to get better as the landscaping fills out and the grass grows,” Wells said.

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