BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been nearly two decades since the town of Burrillville formed a redevelopment agency, with a focus on two locations within the town; including the village of Pascoag.
Much work has been done to areas surrounding Pascoag Main Street in recent years. Including the demolishing of blighted structures (five to be exact) and replacing them with modern buildings that hold onto the village’s historic past.
The newest tenants, Bravo Brewing Company, moved into 75 Pascoag Main Street.
According to Jim Langlois, chairman of the Burrillville Redevelopment Agency, it’s an exciting time.
“It’s a feeling of success! But, it’s also a chance to showcase the community and what we are doing out here in Burrillville.”
At the turn of the century, the Burrillville Town Council decided to create a redevelopment agency, and by 2001 the agency was up and running.
Langlois told Eyewitness News after the mills closed in Burrillville many buildings fell into disrepair.
“If there was any hope at all bringing the villages back, which was part of the comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan dictates that the village’s integrity be maintained,” said Langlois.
Langlois, who grew up in Burrillville said back then the village of Pascoag offered those living in the surrounding villages all the necessities.
“You could live here,” he said. “You could buy a car here. You could buy furniture here. You could buy clothing here. You didn’t have to leave the community to get what you needed to sustain your life.”
Much has changed since then, stores closed, people moved out of downtown, and some buildings even burnt to the ground.
Fast forward to 2019 and new life is being breathed into the village.
“Pascoag really jumped out to us, even when we drove through the town, you see kids out playing and riding their bikes,” said co-owner of Bravo Brewing Company, Brianna Hughes.
Hughes and her husband Chris Mishoe, originally from Maine, founded the nano-brewery earlier this year.
Hughes told Eyewitness News it was the redevelopment that caught their attention and sealed the deal on wanting to open their business in the tightknit community.
Hughes said she is thrilled the investment the town is making, “to bring back business. And have these multi-use buildings where you have a mix of residential and business. We wanted to be apart of that.”
The business’s name “Bravo” is a tip of the hat towards Chris Mishoe’s time serving in the United States Air Force.
“One percent of our total gross annual sales we are donating to Homes for Our Troops,” said Hughes.
That money will go towards building adapted homes for post 9/11 veterans and their families.
Jim Langlois told us the town is hoping to bring-in services that we do not have. Like a bank.
“We have a medical facility here with WellOne, but, we could really use an x-ray & imaging facility. We have the facility (space available), we just need someone to step up and want to move out here,” he said.
As for when the redevelopment may be completed?
“I am not sure it will ever be completed. It’s a work in progress. We will get the bulk done in the next 10-years or sooner I hope.”
Langlois ended our conversation with come and explore what Pascoag and the greater Burrillville area has to offer.