Hi everyone! This wonderful community crowdsourcing carpet ride is sometimes fast and furious so I figured it would be nice to sit for a moment and reflect on a few of the happenings of last month. Here’s my musings.

March was a super month. We were deep in the midst of the Downtown Living Campaign and heading into the stretch run, in search of 400 responses of those who would be interested in living in a vibrant, walkable downtown.

We surpassed our goal two weeks ahead of schedule! Looking back, it was quite the accomplishment. There are amenities in the ‘Ideas’ section that can appeal and benefit everyone like the piazza. And the piazza is the most popular idea, but that hasn’t even reached 400 likes as of this writing. So when you think about it, we were asking for a pretty heavy, and aggressive lift in seeking 400 ‘likes’ for Downtown Living considering not everyone is going to be interested in living downtown. But we did it which is a testament to the power of the BR core, our ability to communicate and spread like an octopus, but also to the power of the downtown plan. You need all three of those pieces to really make things go.

We formed several community partnerships to reach new audiences and people. We created Downtown Living Campaign boards equipped with pencils and ballots, a large graphic of the piazza, coupled with some information on the campaign. Several local restaurants (Milestone, Tortoise & the Hare, Supernatural) graciously housed these boards in their establishments. In the end it was a great success as the restaurants were touching new folks who were never exposed to Bristol Rising, the process, and Downtown Living – but they were intrigued, and more than a few filled out surveys.

Next worked with the local newspapers to get our downtown living surveys into their publications, finding yet another non-internet way to reach audiences. Our last run for the Observer was March 16, which got us a bunch of exposure. Not sure of the exact return on that because what we found is that people would see the surveys in the paper and many would go online and complete it. We did get a few back cut out from the newspapers, though there is really no way of knowing if someone online doing the survey was referred by the newspaper ad unless they specifically say so… some did say, but I’m guessing many did not. Overall, it we do estimate it had an overall positive impact and are thankful for both papers for assisting.

In terms of ‘other’ events and outreach we of course had the Bristol Rising Meetup… This was not the average meetup as it was done in concert with the Mayor’s Task Force on Marketing the City so it was more for Bristol Rising to participate as part of a focus group along with other City organizations. However several discussions we had related to the downtown, and I feel we provided understanding for folks for what we’re trying to accomplish. There were definitely some in the crowd who were not all the way familiar with what we’re doing, so it was good to get them involved in the discussion.

Then there was the Barley Vine Video Shoot in mid March. Barley Vine is deep in their audition process for Bobby Flay and we were able to organize a really cool backdrop for BV’s audition – in the vein of morning news style shows – where a large crowd is cheering behind the interview. We had roughly 70 people out there at peak yelling and screaming ‘bobby, bobby, bobby!’ It was an exciting atmosphere that got shared not only on our social media but via others (which is the bigger win), and it was covered a few times in the local media and newspapers. Certainly a ‘cool factor’ rub for folks seeing Bristol Rising working on such fun projects and even helping influence a world renown chef like Bobby Flay to come to Bristol.

Downtown Pioneers was a great meetup. There were some new faces and names we got to mingle with and expose them to the project and what Bristol Rising is all about. Not only that but it got great media coverage in the newspaper, definitely some bonus points there for our group.

Shamrock Run is growing into a huge event, and drew in the neighborhood of 2000 people this year… It’s done at Chippens Hill Middle School. We had a booth there and were letting people know about Downtown Living, as well as the normal Bristol Rising information.

We also had the Kennedy Smith event which drew in the neighborhood of 40 people, including some fresh faces who are interested in perhaps starting their own businesses. That’s all I can say for now, but could be a promising path to add some local entrepreneurs to downtown!

Next Month will have a bit of a break for Risers in terms of campaigning but we’ll still be present….

  • April 3 Presentation to High School Sports Champions
  • April 12 Community Builders Reception for United Way
  • April 13 Ryan and I will be at Partnership for Strong Communities Forum on making our cities’ cooler to attract and keep young people
  • April 24 Bristol Rising Meetup
  • April 28 Cash Mob