Monday, May 27, 2024

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Special Weather Statement

The National Weather Service tonight issued the following statement:

Temperatures will fall below freezing overnight.

Patchy black ice is possible on roadways that became wet from from earlier precipitation.

Please exercise caution when traveling tonight into early Wednesday morning.

Parks & Rec Votes Minimal Changes for Compo

Other proposals gleaned from the committee recommendations that the commission approved included: constructing restrooms but no pavilion at South Beach; building a new bathhouse; resurfacing the basketball courts; and putting in a pedestrian walkway that would be a boardwalk along East Beach to the cannons, continuing as a crushed stone trail skirting the beach’s perimeter.

Tonight’s meeting drew about 150 to the Town Hall auditorium, and in contrast to past public hearings, those who spoke were cordial, even thanking the Parks and Recreation Commission for listening to them.

“We heard, we listened, and we put personal views aside,” said commission member Ed Iannone following the meeting. “I thought moving the parking made sense, but it’s not my beach, it’s the public’s.”

Iannone said that he was glad the commission tackled the contentious parking concern first “since I didn’t see any support for it from the public.”

“We heard it loud and clear that it is important to keep the parking on South and East beaches,” Haberstroh said.

In past public meetings seniors and parents young children said it would be a hardship to have to walk across parking lots to the beach instead of being able to pull right up to it. 

Northrop Associates and AKRF, both White Plains, N.Y.-based architectural consultants, posited that moving the parking would enhance water views. Following public outcry, the consultants offered a second option of improvements leaving South Beach parking as is.

Prior to tonight’s votes, a number of residents spoke, expressing thanks to the commission for listening to them.

Calling the recommendations a minimalist approach, longtime Westporter Michael Calise thanked the commission “for the critical eye you used.”

Another longtime resident John Brandt lauded the commission for “thoughtful deliberation.’ And teenage skateboarding enthusiast Gabi Dick could not help to tell the commission “I’m overjoyed.”

Kathleen Carey, who months earlier had spoken in favor of moving the parking suggested that the commission compromise, leaving the parking as is on South Beach but moving it away from East Beach. She was alone in her suggestion, and the commission voted otherwise.

Representative Town Meting Member (RTM) Jimmy Izzo suggested selling weekend beach permits online to nonresidents as a way of reducing traffic backups at the beach entrance.

Cathy Brezovec, a resident of nearby Bradley Street, said cars often backed up on her street waiting to get into Compo and unlike the beach entrance road, there was no place to get out of the way of cars.

Jack Breeden, a resident of Dorchester Drive, suggested putting a three-way stop at the intersection of Compo Beach Road and Bradley Street to make it easier for cars to exit Bradley Street.

Haberstroh said the commission had no say over traffic issues outside the beach.

At the meeting’s outset, Haberstroh noted that tonight’s action was just the beginning,. He said the commission’s recommendations would have to go through various town bodies, including the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the RTM.

“It’s not necessarily the end,” Haberstroh said

First Selectman Jim Marpe said he was pleased with the commission’s votes.

“I think the Parks and Recreation Commission did a great job listening to the community and coming to a reasonable compromise with their proposals,” Marpe said.

“I look forward to working with them to bring the proposals to a reality,” he added.

Praise for Compo Beach Recommended Improvements

WestportNow.com Image
There was almost unanimous praise tonight from public speakers reacting to recommendations by the Westport Parks and Recreation Commission on Compo Beach Improvements. The no change to parking recommendation brought positive comments from a full house in the Town Hall auditorium as did plans to extend the boardwalk the entire length of the East Beach. Representative Town Meeting member Jimmy Izzo suggested selling weekend beach passes onlne to out of owners to avoid long car lines at the beach entrance.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

P&R Commission: No Change in Compo Parking

WestportNow.com Image
UPDATE The Westport Parks and Recreation Commission tonight recommended no change in the current Compo Beach parking along the East Beach (above) and along the adjacent South Beach. A possible change in the parking was the most controversial recommendation from a committee which studied beach improvements. The commission also recommended replacement of the current bathhouse, locker and lifeguard station facility with a new one that will better withstand storms, new restroom facilities at South Beach, and that a skate park be retained at the beach. The commission voted on the recommendations at a meeting in the Town Hall auditorium. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Downtown Improvements Begin

The Public Works improvement project also includes the planting of new trees along Main Street and the addition of an underground electrical conduit that Marpe said will allow a festive lighting display for the 2015 holiday season.

Marpe said the project is being undertaken by the Department of Public Works in cooperation with Eversource (previously CL&P) and the Downtown Merchants Association.

“We hope that this improvement project proceeds smoothly, quickly, and with minimal disruption,” Marpe said.

According to Public Works Director Stephen Edwards, the town will strive to work in localized sections “and on one side of the road at a time in order to reduce congestion and disruption.”

“This is an exciting time for all who live, work, visit and shop in downtown Westport,“Marpe said.“It is the beginning of the larger efforts proposed by the Downtown Master Plan to enhance Westport’s streetscapes, parks, river views and public areas.”

This infrastructure project is partially funded by a grant of $497,595 from the State’s Main Street Investment Fund. It was awarded to the town in July 2013, largely through the efforts of Louis Gagliano, who was chairman of the now disbanded Downtown 2020 Committee. (See WestportNow July 11, 2013)

Local landlords will be contributing towards the cost of replacing sidewalks in front of their respective buildings.

Police Step Up Cell Phone Enforcement

“For those who say that driving and texting is an epidemic, we believe enforcement of our hand-held mobile phone ban law is part of the cure,” he added.

Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations carry fines from $150 for a first offense,$300 for a second violation and $500 for each subsequent one.

Arciola said as many as 50 law enforcement agencies including state and local police will take part in the mobilization to enforce Connecticut’s law. He said the crackdown runs throughout April.

During a similar, three-week campaign last September, more than 7,000 motorists received citations for using phones while driving in Connecticut, Arciola said.

He said in 2013, 3,154 people were killed and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes nationally because of distracted drivers.

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving,“Arciola said. 

“It creates the proverbial perfect storm for a crash, and no one has the right to put another person’s life at risk like that.”

He said Connecticut remains the only state in the nation to receive special distracted driving prevention funds, with more than $4.6 million awarded over the last two years specifically for such campaigns.

Play With Your Food Opens Final Series

WestportNow.com Image
The Play with Your Food lunchtime play reading series today began its its final series at Westport’s Toquet Hall. The three short plays drew a full house. Afterwards, the actors engaged in a talk back with the audience Performances continue on Wednesday and Thursday in Westport and .  And in Fairfield on April 7 and in Greenwich on April 8 and 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Edward I. Barlow, 83

In earlier years, he was a fan of country music and would enjoy square dancing with his family. Recently, he would take son Dean to country music concerts and shows.

Known for his sense of humor, he was generous and kind and always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. He will be greatly missed.

He was the husband of the late Anna (Chirco) Barlow. He is survived by a son, Dean Barlow of Westport and a daughter, Dale Ann Barlow of Fairfield, and by a sister, Gladys Albright and her husband Ed of Palmyra, Va. He was predeceased by a sister Marion Knox. He is also survived by a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Josephine and Art Cocchia of Bethel. Also surviving are an aunt, Caroline Wohlforth of Westport, several nieces and nephews, and many cousins and friends who thought the world of him. Also, he leaves behind the family dog, Lucky.

Friends may call on Tuesday, April 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave., Norwalk. A service will be held on Wednesday, April 8 at 10 a.m. at the Green’s Farms Congregational Church, 71 Hillandale Road. Interment will be at Willowbrook Cemetery. .

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ed’s memory can be made to the Green’s Farms Congregational Church or to the charity of one’s choice.