Bristol eyes land for new rec. center

BRISTOL — If all goes well the Bristol Recreation Department will get a new home in the next couple of years, including a new teen center and skate park.
At its May 28 meeting the town selectboard voted to pursue a purchase-and-sale agreement — contingent upon voter approval — for the property at 76 West St., which is adjacent to land owned by the Bristol Recreation Club.
A sale price would be determined through a town assessment process, Bristol Town Administrator Valerie Capels told the Independent. In a townwide reappraisal completed last month the property was valued at $166,500.
No target date for a community vote was set.
At last week’s meeting the board discussed the possibility of building a new skate park on the land, as well as consolidating the Bristol Hub Teen Center, Bristol Clay Studio, and Recreation Department offices into a new building to be built there.
“We need a clean, safe, warm place for our kids to go,” said selectboard member John “Peeker” Heffernan, who added that the current Hub Teen Center building, located at 110 Airport Drive, “is not worth putting money into.”
The current building needs about $1,500 worth of cosmetic work, but it should last until a new building can be built, said Hub Program director Brian LaClair.
New town Recreation Director Meridith McFarland agreed at the meeting that the Hub “is in a rough spot.” In a follow-up interview with the Independent she said the Recreation Department is excited about exploring the feasibility of the project.
“This could lead to lower costs, improved efficiencies and more diverse programming over time and allow the Rec. Department to be more accessible to the community,” she said.
The selectboard agreed to use a portion of the Capital Building Fund to pay for the preliminary design of a new building, so that town voters will have a sense of the total project cost and how it will affect their taxes.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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