To the editor: Bristol has a beautiful harbor matching those of many lovely towns in New England, such as Padanaram, Mystic, and Rockport, but it has been sealed off from most of its residents by …
To the editor:
Bristol has a beautiful harbor matching those of many lovely towns in New England, such as Padanaram, Mystic, and Rockport, but it has been sealed off from most of its residents by errors of the past. The proposed development of Robin Rug not only would perpetuate this, but would pile on new ones.
The massive, charmless building is a blight on the waterfront and its conversion would cost the town, create a serious parking problem, further block the harbor, and run counter to the town’s hearings and concerns over sea level rise; unless a saltwater pool is planned for the first floor.
Many of these issues were discussed recently over the large, proposed apartment building nearby on Thames Street, near State Street, that was eventually turned down. And what protection is there against a bait and switch as occurred at the Coats Thread-Stone Harbor development where a redevelopment of an old, three-story building turned into a new five-storied one that elicited state ethics charges? There, the town allowed an additional blockage of the harbor by a mound to the north of the building and a new building to the south. Plus, the later loss of a parking lot behind the library,.
The town has no need for new housing when the use of buildings keeps changing. The Belvedere Hotel on Hope Street was redone as condos and the hotel next to CVS on Metacom was changed to student dorms. The newly proposed hotel on Gooding Avenue would most likely become additional student dorms, as are other apartments in town, as well as the proposed apartments on Thames and those in Robin Rug. Building affordable housing is building student housing. Construction of new dorms on Roger Williams’ campus would alleviate the town’s need and preserve Bristol.
Tearing down Robin Rug would once again open the harbor. The resulting promenade would show off the Marine Center, provide a buffer for sea level rise, and provide room for a restaurant with a relaxing view in a remnant of the old section of Robin Rug. Even a beach could be added. Some parking could also be planned to alleviate the problem that has driven some businesses out of town. This would enhance the value of downtown Bristol and result in a long-term savings.
The town needs to purchase Robin Rug for the benefit of all Bristol.
103 Aaron Ave.