Administration Press Releases

Bristol Announces New Bicycle Connector Planning Study

August 18, 2020

Diane Williamson, AICP – Director of Community Development
Town of Bristol, RI
401-253-7000 x 126
[email protected]

Bristol, RI– The Town of Bristol has launched efforts to design and establish the Bristol Bicycle Connector, a series of improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect the southern terminus of the East Bay Bike Path with the southern area of Bristol for safer and more efficient commuting and recreation.

For the past several years, the Town of Bristol has been exploring options to enhance connectivity for bicyclists and pedestrians in town. A focus has been on the connection from the Roger Williams University campus to the East Bay Bike Path and downtown Bristol to expand opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to commute and further integrate with the community and spur economic growth for downtown businesses.  

“We are very excited about the opportunity for a potential bicycle path to connect the end of the East Bay Bike Path to the southern part of Bristol.  There are many benefits for the residents, including an increased opportunity for more active recreation.” said Diane Williamson, Director of Community Development.    

 The Town has convened a Steering Committee to help guide the planning process and build consensus for the preferred design concept.  In June, the Town selected the consultant team of Fuss & O’Neill and Toole Design to assist the Town with the Connector’s design. During August and September 2020, the team will conduct an alternatives analysis to evaluate potential routes and engage with the public to assess the routes and make recommendations for a preferred alternative. Once selected, the Town will move forward to complete the design and permitting of the chosen route.

Members of the public can participate in the process in several ways:

  • Presentations and workshops will take place on Zoom, and links to all meetings will be on the Bristol Bicycle Connector website. The following events are currently scheduled:
    • Town Council presentation of Route Alternatives on 8/19/20 – 7 pm
    • Community Workshop to discuss Route Alternatives on 8/25/20 – 7 pm (Zoom Invite)
    • Town Council presentation of prioritized Route Alternatives on 9/9/20 – 7 pm
    • Community Workshop to discuss prioritized Route Alternatives on 9/16/20 – 7 pm
    • Presentation to Town Council on 9/30/20 – 7 pm

The study is funded by a grant from the 2018 Green Economy Bond of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The program supports communities improving facilities for cycling and recreation. The Town of Bristol has no local match for this study.


Administration Press Releases

Bristol Announces Retirement of Library Director Prescott

BRISTOL, RI-Earlier today, Library Staff and supporters gathered to celebrate Rogers Free Library Director Joan Prescott. Director Prescott announced her retirement after over 30 years of service to visitors of the Library. Joan has been integral in the successful operation and expansion of the Rogers Free Library. Director Prescott’s last day will be this Friday, August 14th, 2020. The Town of Bristol extends its best wishes and appreciates her many years of service. Pictured are Town Administrator Steven Contente and Town Treasurer Raquel Pellerin presenting Joan Prescott with the Town Coin at the Library.


Administration Press Releases

Tropical Storm Isaias Update

AUGUST 3, 2020

(401) 253-2310
[email protected]

BRISTOL, RI-The Town of Bristol is closely monitoring the movements of Tropical Storm Isaias as it makes its way up the east coast towards Southern New England. A Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect as high winds and heavy rain are expected to arrive by Tuesday afternoon and continue into Wednesday. While the Town stands ready and prepared for any emergency, residents are asked to prepare in advance for possible power outages. Please tune in to local news and weather forecasts for any developments.


Administration COVID-19 Press Releases

Motor Vehicle Tax Bills Delayed

BRISTOL, RI – Due to the uncertainty surrounding the State budget process, Motor Vehicle Tax bills are not being sent at this time. The Town of Bristol has been made aware that there may be changes made to the Motor Vehicle tax phase-out program. As a result, the Town will wait until the State budget is finalized before sending out the tax bills.  Quarterly due dates will be adjusted accordingly. For more information, please contact Michelle DiMeo, Bristol’s Tax Assessor / Collector at [email protected].


Administration Economic Development Press Releases

Bristol Awarded $623K Boating Infrastructure Grant for Expansion of Bristol Maritime Center, RIDEM

Administration Press Releases

Town Administrator Contente Issues Statement on Peaceful Protests

“Dear Residents of Bristol,

The Town of Bristol’s local government condemns the murder of George Floyd. We believe that positive changes will help bring better understanding and improve our communities.

Bristol Chief of Police Kevin Lynch has met with organizers of a peaceful protest that are planning to meet at Colt State Park tomorrow morning, Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 10:00 AM. The intentions are to walk to Independence Park and stand for change, justice, and peace. The Town of Bristol has coordinated with Local, State, and Federal Departments to ensure that the rights to assemble are protected and that all residents and business owners are safe. The Rhode Island Department of Health will be present during the event to promote guidance on preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Tomorrow’s event is part of the pursuit for change and advancement in living conditions and equality for all. We in Bristol have always supported our Constitutional values, the first of which is the right for freedom of speech and right to assemble. The Town of Bristol will also protect all of our residents’ right to security and safety. It is our hope that our Nation and Town of Bristol will slowly heal and that we will succeed in our efforts to further improve our community.”


Steven Contente
Bristol Town Administrator

Administration COVID-19 Economic Development Press Releases

Bristol Announces Temporary Eat Out Zones, Extends Sidewalk Use Licenses


BRISTOL, RI – To promote safe public access to restaurants and local businesses, Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente signed Executive Order 20-09, which authorizes the temporary expansion of outdoor dining spaces and extends expiring sidewalk use licenses through the duration of the State of Emergency.

Beginning Monday, May 18th, 2020, restaurants will be able to temporarily expand their outdoor service areas into sidewalks and adjacent public or private spaces. 

The Town will issue Temporary Outdoor Dining Expansion Permits to interested businesses anywhere in the Town and without application fees or permit fees. Permit applications will be available online beginning Thursday, May 14th, 2020, at 4:00 PM. 

Expansions must follow the executive orders issued by Governor Gina Raimondo as well as directives issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health, Department of Business Regulation, or any other state agency, including but not limited to the ’Phase I Guidelines for Restaurants,’ on

The full executive order is available online here.

For additional information on this program, please contact Chris Vitale, Bristol’s Economic Development Coordinator by emailing [email protected].


Businesses that want to submit for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Expansion Permit can do so
through the Town’s online e-permitting platform.

Administration COVID-19 Press Releases

Bristol Reopens Town Hall, Announces Changes to In-Person Service

Beginning today, Monday, May 11th, 2020, Bristol Town Hall will resume its in-person services for the public. Over the past two weeks, Town Hall has undergone interior renovations to limit exposure.

In addition to the new physical barriers, Town is implementing the following additional safety protocols:

  • All persons entering Town Hall must wear a cloth face-covering mask per RIDOH regulations and active executive orders. Individuals will not be serviced without a face covering.
  • All persons should remain at least six (6) feet apart at all times. Markings have been placed along the floor to indicate proper spacing between individuals.
  • One-way foot traffic has been instituted inside a majority of Town Hall’s public area to help more individuals avoid coming into close contact with others as they conduct their business.
  • Hand sanitizer has been made available at all entryways, service counters, and public workspaces for individuals.
  • All high-touch, high-traffic areas will undergo increased cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day per CDC guidelines.

The Town of Bristol is pleased to reopen Town Hall and looks forward to serving constituents in a safe and professional manner. 

As always, residents are encouraged to conduct their business with the Town by phone (401-253-7000), by U.S. Mail, or online at

Online services include:

Tax Payments: Residents and businesses can conveniently pay their property taxes online at or by U.S. mail. Checks should be mailed to 10 Court Street Bristol, RI 02809. A drop box is also available outside Town Hall. 

Building Permits: Residents and businesses can apply for a variety of building permits through the Town’s Viewpoint Cloud platform at

Municipal Court Fees: Constituents can pay traffic and parking tickets online at

File a Police Report: The Bristol Police Department provides a convenient alternative for citizens to report non-emergency situations that have occurred with the Town of Bristol, RI. The online reporting system can be used to report vandalism, identity theft, credit card fraud, lost/missing items, theft of packages, harassment, and other non-emergency incidents. To file a report, please visit To report an emergency that requires an immediate police response, DIAL 9-1-1. 

Town Clerk Services: The Bristol Town Clerk’s Office offers constituents several online services, including access to the land evidence database, submission of a public records request, and vital records requests. To learn more, please visit the Town website at

More information about the Town’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be found online at To view the latest guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), please visit

Administration COVID-19 Economic Development Press Releases

Town Administrator Announces Local Business Relief Measures


Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2020 

Contact: Chris Vitale, Economic Development Coordinator | (401) 253-7000 

BRISTOL, RI-On Friday, April 3, 2020, Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente and Economic Development Coordinator Chris Vitale made several announcements related to local business support. Through Executive Order 20-05: 

  1. The Town of Bristol has established a COVID-19 Business Task Force to connect businesses with State and Federal resources available. 
  2. Local Property Tax Relief: Taxpayers can request a 90-day deferral of local real estate taxes due May 15, 2020. During this deferral period, late fees and interest charges will be waived. A taxpayer’s primary residence or properties associated with a small business, including vacation rentals are eligible for waivers. For more information, please contact the Bristol Tax Assessor’s Office at (401)-253-7000. 
  3. Business Licensing Fee Relief: The Town of Bristol will waive renewal fees for town-issued business licenses that are set to expire during the local State of Emergency.  
  4. Suspending Plastic Bag Ordinance: To protect the health and safety of essential business employees and shoppers, the Town is temporarily suspending Part IV, Chapter 24, Article V of the Bristol Town Code for the duration of the local State of Emergency. This will allow operational flexibility for businesses and reduce handling of customer’s reusable bags by workers during the public health crisis. 
  5. Town-Owned Business Incubator Relief: Rent collection for Town-owned incubator spaces are suspended until June 1st, 2020. Rent due for April and May will be deferred but not waived. Any rent which has been deferred must be repaid in full by October 1, 2020. 

“Throughout this crisis, most local businesses have seen a decrease or halt in revenue. It’s my hope that today’s emergency measures help reduce some anxiety,” said Town Administrator Steven Contente. “The Town will continue to advocate for businesses that are applying for State and Federal assistance and help in anyway that it can.” 

These policies take effect immediately and remain in full force through the duration of the local State of Emergency. 

Beginning Monday, April 6, 2020, the Town of Bristol will be adding additional resources/services on its website including:  

  • Business Impact Survey: The Town of Bristol will be collecting information from its businesses, non-profits, and art groups to determine the effects of COVID-19 to date. Bristol’s Business Impact Survey will assist municipal staff and community partners in their economic recovery efforts. 
  • Virtual Consultations: Bristol’s Economic Development Coordinator will be available for consultations through the Zoom video conference platform. The Town can help connect businesses with available State and Federal resources.  
  • Public Event Planning: If your community event has or will been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the Town of Bristol will assist with rescheduling to later this year. 
  • Program Overviews and Guides: The Town of Bristol will provide information on available State and Federal business assistance programs. 

For the latest local information, please visit Bristol’s COVID-19 fact page here.


Administration COVID-19 Press Releases

State of the Town Letter to the Editor, Bristol Phoenix