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Thursday, July 28, 2005

James Hardin Resigns as Westport Downtown Merchants President

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA) today announced the resignation of James M. Hardin as its president due to the “press of work” and “some health issues.”

The group’s board of governors elected David Waldman, current vice president, to fill out Hardin’s term, and elected Lee Papageorge as vice president, an announcement said.

Waldman is a principal in the realty firm of David Adam Realty, and Papageorge is the owner of Westport’s Oscar’s Deli.

Hardin, associate executive director of the Westport Weston YMCA,  first joined the WDMA board of governors July 1, 2002.

Originally he served as chair of the Membership Committee and worked as a volunteer on the annual Fine Arts Festival for the past three years. 

“Hardin stated his reasons for the resignation had to do with the press of work at his occupation and some health issues,” the announcement said. 

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to have worked with a great group of people dedicated to the betterment of downtown Westport,” Hardin said.


Posted 07/28/05 at 08:05 PM  Permalink


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Jim will be missed as head of the DMA. David Waldman will do a great job,as has Jim. I wish both of you the best.

Posted by Gale Beyea on July 29, 2005 at 11:01 AM | #

This is good, in that Hardin worked for the Y and keeping the Y downtown was a conflict for him.

The question is, will Waldman look to keep the Y’s foot traffic downtown, or be more interested in subdividing the old building and making a profit.

The DMA needs to realize the Y is their bread and butter when it comes to people being in that area. They should fight to keep it in the downtown area.

Posted by Now what? on July 29, 2005 at 12:22 PM | #

Have there been studies as to the percentage of downtown shoppers who are not Y members? I would curious to know whether statistics support Now What’s contention that the Y is the bread and butter of the DMA. I am a frequent downtown shopper but not a member of the Y.

Posted by Just a thought on July 29, 2005 at 02:06 PM | #

I’d also like to see the downtown merchants pony up substantial development money for the YMCA’s fund. If the Y really is that important to their business, it should be well worth it.

Posted by JeffK on July 29, 2005 at 04:37 PM | #

A few things:

1. I agree, I’d like to see a study on how much the Y brings foot traffic to the area, but it won’t happen because it would prove the Y is the corner stone to the area.

2. The DMA should not give a penny to the Y, because giving it to them will only help the move not keep them downtown. The DMA would do better to spend money trying to keep the Y downtown some place.

3. Let’s be real here the merchants, privately, have said they want the Y where it is, but for some reason have been silenced. I’m not sure Waldman won’t continue this DMA silence, but I’d hope freedom of speech will allow the obvious to be known. The problem is everyone is licking their chops over the Bedford building. That should not be a reason to allow this absurd relocation.

The Y being downtown is the most obvious concept.

Posted by Now What on July 29, 2005 at 09:20 PM | #

The reality, of course, is that a redeveloped Bedford building, especially with high-profile tenants, has the potential of bringing in many more people than the Y.

If that’s the case, it could be the cornerstone of a revitalized downtown and return a valuable property to the grand list, easing the tax burden for all of us.

The real tragedy will be if the Y has to shut down because it has nowhere to go. Then we all lose.

Posted by Still Another Opinion on July 29, 2005 at 10:30 PM | #

Fine, bring on the research. I for one, doubt that it’d show that more than 10% of people going to the Y also go to a store in the same trip. Who wants to shop after working out?

But suppose it does prove it. What right would the merchants have to hold the Y hostage downtown without making staying there worth their while financially? If the research DOES show they’re vital to downtown, the DMA should pay to keep them there.

Posted by JeffK on August 01, 2005 at 12:06 PM | #