Bristol is lucky to have a city planner like Alan Weiner. He's smart and hardworking and advocates for the city. He's been at it a long time and rarely gets a pat on the back, but I believe he deserves one.
One of the things I like best about Alan is that he takes the long view (that's the planner in him) and has a fair amount of patience. He also says what he thinks is right, even if it's not the popular point of view. That's what I respect about him.
He's been tirelessly pushing for a renewal of the West End, which is not hte city's most popular neighborhood. It's struggling, but I agree with Alan that there's a lot of potential in the West End.
I went to the last meeting on the West End study last week. The Bristol Community Organization hosted it and about 20 people showed up to add their two cents before the final draft of the study is finished.
Whether the study sits on a shelf and gathers dust or becomes the blueprint for an active neighborhood makeover remains to be seen.
As Alan correctly pointed out to the people at that meeting, though city officials play an important role in determining whether the West End gets government funding, a lot can be accomplished by residents, property owners and business owners who have a stake in the neighborhood's future.
There's been a lot of talk about forming a neighborhood association, and that certainly needs no government action to occur. Look no further than my pals at the Forestville Village Association for inspiration on that front.
It makes a whole lot more sense to get to work on the West End rather than sit back and anonymously trash it, which seems to be a popular online sport in Bristol.