Tuesday, July 11, 2017
By James Lomuscio
After lengthy debate, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight approved $400,000 to replace the Compo Beach pavilion roof and upgrade its nearby shabby restrooms.
The vote of 27 to 4 with 1 abstention shortly after 11 p.m. was preceded by almost two hours of debate, including comments from some RTM members that their colleagues were attempting to micro-manage the project.
RTM member Carla Rea made a motion to postpone the vote until September, saying she wanted to see designs that were sent out to bid, and perhaps a design that would incorporate a solar panel on the pavilion roof.
“Why wasn’t this talked about four years ago?” Rea asked, referring to the damage the pavilion suffered during Super Storm Sandy. “Now all of a sudden it’s a priority. We should have been bidding on a design.
“I’m tired to see a little bit here, a little bit there,” she added. “Let’s act with intelligence.”
Rea’s effort to postpone won only seven votes.
In making the appropriation request, Parks and Recreation Director Jen Fava said that the restroom upgrades would include new fixtures, floors with new plumbing underneath and tiled walls.
She said while her department received an estimate of $320,000 for the project, “We are asking for up to $400,000 as a contingency.”
Several RTM members spoke in support of Rea’s motion to postpone. Others countered that this was a matter of maintenance and repairs that did not require full blown designs.
“This is a maintenance issue,” said RTM member Jimmy Izzo, echoing Public Works Director Steve Edwards who said he planned to do the project with in-house design staff.
Seth Bronstein said $400,000 “is a great investment for the town.”
“It’s in dire need of repair,” he said. “Get this resolved tonight. It’s time. It’s well overdue.”
With its final vote, the RTM agreed.
The pavilion roof was removed late last month because of safety concerns.
Edwards said work could begin in October. He said a postponement on the appropriation would have pushed it back to spring.
Posted 07/11/17 at 11:21 PM Permalink