Wednesday, September 04, 2013
RTM Approves Funds for Compo Makeover Plan
By James Lomuscio
Acknowledging that Westport’s Compo Beach needs a makeover, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) by a vote of 29 to 1 with 1 abstention Tuesday night approved a request for $50,000 to hire an outside consultant to come up with a master plan for making it more functional and attractive.
Andy Moss, chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission, answers a question Tuesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Andy Moss, chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission, said the Compo Beach Improvement Committee (CBIC) has selected Lothrop Associates of White Plains, N.Y. to design the master plan, focusing on internal and external traffic flow, pedestrian walkways, as well as its park like fields and athletic courts.
“You really can’t be against it,” said RTM member Jack Klinge. “But, it leaves out a part that needs major surgery, the bathhouse, the lockers and the bathrooms.”
Instead of doing a separate design plan focusing on the bathhouse, Klinge said, the bathhouse should be incorporated into the one plan.
But some proponents said that would require a new RFP (request for proposals) and further delay improvements necessary to increase pedestrian safety, park and beach access, as well as access to its array of athletic court.
“I don’t want to wait six months for a grand plan and then have to wait another six months for a bathhouse (plan),” Klinge said, adding that at that rate the town would not see a new facility until 2015.
“That’s not acceptable,” he added. “Let’s get it moving in parallel.”
RTM member Carla Rea, who was the only one on the RTM’s P&Z Committee to vote against the appropriation, said her decision was predicated on the urgency for bathhouse renovations.
“Compo Beach is a disaster,” she said. “We don’t even have baby changing tables in the bathrooms. ...It’s time to have lockers people can open without cutting themselves and having to go to the lifeguard station for Band-Aids.”
Stuart McCarthy, Parks & Rec director, told a meeting of the town’s Plan Implementation Committee today that the consultants would be considering the future of the bathhouse as part of their work.
He said perhaps there would be consideration to relocating the building, noting that it is a prime piece of Compo real estate that only accommodates 150 persons a season.
Moss said that key to the plan’s success would be public input from “people all over town,” not just those who live near the beach.
“The key to being successful is public engagement,” he said. “It will require input and feedback.”
Comments: Comment Policy
Amazing. We approve a $50K spend to do a study, when everyone knows our bathhouses need to be fixed now. In addition, was there any discussion about how much Westport is willing to spend on the so called ‘plan’ this consultant will eventually recommend? Did we give any parameters as to spend, so this study doesn’t feed the waste bucket?
Thank you Carla Rea—for stepping up and stating what everyone is probably thinking.
I hope those coming up with a design plan of the bathouse have no intention of touching or “renovating the art-deco brick shower areas made famous by Larry Silver’s photographs. Having worked on exhibits at the Westport Historical Society, I got to see many old postcards and photos of Compo which bear witness to the longevity of its style and charm.
Be careful planners! Eyes are watching you.
Your concern is just one of many with the hiring of this consultant. From your perspective, you want to know what parameters this consultant was given regarding the existing buildings. WAS ANY? How mnay more concerns like yours is out there? What guidelines was the consultant given so this study is not a $50,000 waste of tax payer money?
From my perspective, what guidelines or parameters were given to the consultant regarding how much the town is willing to spend for these changes? Did we require a study that meets a maximum amount of money to spend? What was that? If not, will this be a study we can actually implement?
From my talley, this appears to be the third study our leaders have approved this year. I beleive we have reached $300,000. I could be wrong.
But will any provide a benefit to Westport? Does the $50,000 we are spending on this consultant have any chance of being used?
lets hope you get to keep your art-deco brick shower areas. Lets also help we have not thrown away $50,000.
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