Bristol CORE (formerly Bristol Downtown Community Partnership), a non-profit 501(c)(3), is a group of area business people, property owners and community members committed to increasing and maintaining the economic vitality of the Bristol downtown area and to organize and promote community events for Bristol citizens. We do this via beautification, marketing and economic development projects and programs. Bristol CORE and its Board of Directors were created as part of the requirements to become a Vermont Designated Downtown, a status Bristol earned in 2006.
Bristol’s Main Street and town green, historic buildings and local enterprises, and, above all, the unique character of its people are the core of our COmmunity – physically, culturally and economically. Bristol CORE’s mission, and passion, is to bring people together to rally the REsources to keep that core strong, to celebrate its history and to plan for its future. Bristol CORE (formerly Bristol Downtown Community Partnership), a non-profit 501(c)(3), was created as one of the requirements to become a Vermont Designated Downtown, a status Bristol earned in 2006.
In 2015, Bristol CORE engaged in significant restructuring – launched a major organizational re-branding, sought community feedback in a variety of ways, actively worked to increase its board and volunteer Team participation, hired a new Executive Director, and restructured both its internal operations and its fundraising strategies.
- Installation (ongoing as of December 2015) of a brand new Downtown Wireless system, in partnership with Green Mountain Access.
- Pursuing multiple avenues to improve cell service for community members, visitors, and businesses.
- Exploring options to revitalize local food connections to counterbalance the loss of Mountain Greens and the Farmers Market.
- Gathering information about financial resources available to local businesses and discussing avenues to make it more widely available.
Team Members: Carolyn Ashby, Danelle Birong, Amy Piasecki, Reed Prescott, Carol Wells
Promotions (Events and Marketing)
- Took advantage of the Neighborhood Champion program to bring local business resources, marketing materials, and extra pizzazz to (a very chilly) Main Street on Small Business Saturday® November 28th.
- The 8th Annual Chocolate Walk on December 4th set records for business participation, community turnout, chocolate consumed, dollars spent locally and holiday festivity!
- Pocock Rocks! took 2015 off to recharge and will be returning in 2016, bigger and better than ever.
- Continuing to maintain www.discoverbristolvt.com as the place to go to find things to do and places to shop, dine and have fun in Bristol, with a business directory, calendar of events and other useful information.
- Expanded social media activity leading up to and during events and on behalf of local businesses, with paid promotions and sponsored content.
Team Members: John Kromer, Matthew Ham-Ellis, Reed Prescott, Darla Senecal
Collaborations (Town & Community Relationships)
- Surveyed community members via Front Porch Forum and at Town Meeting in March to learn more about the activities, habits, needs, desires, and priorities of our community for the future.
- Held a community forum in May to continue to seek community feedback, to educate about the downtown designation and its benefits, and to launch our organizational re-branding as Bristol CORE.
- Attended statewide Downtown & Historic Preservation Conference and Downtown Retreat in September to learn about best practices & new ideas, access state resources, and make useful connections for future opportunities.
- Partnered with the Local Community Initiatives capstone class, taught by Bristol resident Kelly Hamshaw, in the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics at UVM. The fall semester class had teams of students tackling 4 key areas: local foods, local business, signature events, and downtown designation renewal.
- Continued regular conversations with the Planning Commission, regularly included Town staff in meetings, and provided assistance with town office technical upgrades taking place alongside the WiFi improvements.
Team Members: Ian Albinson, Carolyn Ashby, Kelly Hamshaw, Kate Selby
Design (Historic Preservation & Public Improvements)
- Completed a long-term grant collaboration with the Vermont Department of Transportation that included the beautification of the entry corner of the Town Green; new lamp posts to improve lighting and safety through the green; park benches and picnic tables; and trash/recycling receptacles on Main Street.
- The Playground received its final touches during the spring, was busy all summer and fall, and was lit and decorated for Cool Yule. A child-size picnic table was added in conjunction with the grant project above.
- Yearly Winter decorating of Main Street, including holiday lights on lamp posts and bandstand, and garland on the bandstand, Howden Hall, and Holley Hall.
Team Members: Ian Albinson, Carol Wells
Our hardworking Executive Director is only able to pound the pavement 10 hours a week, and the appropriation from the town covers only a portion of the budget. All other funds and person-power to make the projects pictured below – and those in the future – come from the community. We are currently seeking new Board and Team members, and welcome your involvement, your enthusiasm and your financial support.
The Town’s funding of Bristol CORE makes it possible for the non-profit to exist. We are truly grateful for the support of the Town Administrator, the Select Board, and the taxpayers in our amazing community.
Bristol CORE Board of Directors
Carolyn Ashby, Chair
Ian Albinson, Executive Director
Therese Kirby, Town Administrator