Vision for Bristol seeks volunteers for public forum

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Volunteers are needed to participate in the Vision for Bristol forum, set for Sept. 19 and 25.

The public engagement forum is a kick-off to updating the town's comprehensive plan, which needs to be completed by the end of 2014. Typically, comprehensive plans are a five-year outlook of the town, but in 2014, it will need to be a 10-year outlook.

"Our plan is to attract as many different people as we can to attend and participate," said Diana Campbell, who initiated the first forum, Voices for Bristol, in 2007.

The forum is designed to give all residents and business owners who otherwise wouldn't participate in town government, a chance to have their opinion heard, Ms. Campbell said.

"We initially decided we weren't going to have the town council members at the forums," Ms. Campbell explained of Voices. "We wanted input from real people in town about what they wanted to see for Bristol's future."

That forum proved successful, with a turnout of 150 people. Much of what was discussed was later implemented in the town's 2009 comprehensive plan.

"Out of that forum...people came out of the woodwork to revitalize the Education Foundation, and other organizations like Save Bristol Harbor," Ms. Campbell said.

For Bristol resident Barbara Healy, the Voices forum was a springboard for her participation in local government.

"I thought it was great," she said. "I put my name down for the waterfront task force, and I think we had a big influence in where the waterfront is going now."

Vision for Bristol will take place in the lower level of St. Mary’s Church over two evenings; participants should plan to attend both nights.

To find out more about this forum or to register so that you can bring your voice to the discussion, send an email to visionforbristol@gmail.com or visit the website, www.visionforbristol.com.

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