Thursday, May 30, 2024


Coalition Concerned about Marpe’s Rejection of State Bridge Money

The Coalition for Westport, a political party focused on planning and zoning issues, today criticized First Selectman Jim Marpe’s decision to turn down $40 million in state money for the William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge. Image
The Cribari Bridge during an opening. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for

Marpe said on July 11 that he rejected the state Department of Transportation (CDOT) money because he did not want “to establish funding for a project where we might not be able to influence the outcome” of the 1884-built swing bridge currently on the National Register of Historic Places. (See WestportNow July 11, 2017)

Calling his decision “the right thing to do,” he stressed the bridge’s historical, cultural and environmental significance to Westport could be at risk of being lost to major renovations, even replacement. CDOT is deciding whether to replace or rehabilitate the bridge, the oldest surviving movable bridge in Connecticut.

The South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (SWRMPO) is scheduled to vote on the matter at its Thursday, Aug. 17 meeting in Ridgefield.

After Day of Drama, Senate Democrats Unite to Back Concessions

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf

On a tie-breaking vote by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, the Senate gave final approval today to a state-employee concessions deal after Democratic leaders mollified three dissenting colleagues with a promise to make a good-faith effort for fiscal reforms.

Uniting all 18 members of the caucus hinged on the willingness by Senate Democratic leaders to at least endorse in concept a dozen fiscal and collective-bargaining reforms sought by three wary Democratic colleagues, any one of whom held the power to kill the deal by voting with Republicans in the evenly divided Senate.

”I’m very pleased that we achieved Democratic unity on this proposal today, and it now helps set us up for the remainder of what will be very difficult budget negotiations,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.

The show of unity did not go beyond the vote. The three holdouts — Sens. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Joan Hartley of Waterbury and Gayle Slossberg of Milford — skipped a post-session news conference with Looney and other Democrats, a sign of remaining difficulties in resolving an impasse that has left Connecticut without a budget for 31 days.

WHS to Host Encore of ‘The High School That Rocked’

On the heels of a sell-out July 15 screening “The High School That Rocked” documentary, another showing is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. at the Westport Historical Society (WHS), Barbara Peck, WHS assistant director, announced today.

The documentary showcases the classic rock legends that performed at Staples High School during the 1970s, including the Doors, Cream and the Yardbirds.

The screening will be followed by a talk with the film’s producer Fred Cantor and local filmmaker Douglas Tirola.

The showing is a joint venture of the WHS and the Westport Cinema Initiative.

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 36 Elm St. Image
An application for a permit to demolish the building at Westport’s 36 Elm St, is in process. Built in 1900, the 1-1/2 story building has 3,866-square feet, is situated on a .15-acre property, and most recently changed ownership in February 2017 for $4.9 million. The building has housed the Villa del Sol Mexican restaurant and Design Within Reach, which has moved to 154 Post Road East. As first reported on July 13, 2017, Villa Del Sol will be moving to 170 Post Road West in space previously occupied by Peachwave. (See WestportNow July 13, 2017) Developer David Waldman purchased 36 Elm St. as part of a land swap with the town that would see construction of a retail and residential building across the street behind Lux Bond & Green. Because the building was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

YMCA Announces Maintenance Shutdown Schedule

The Westport Weston Family YMCA announced today it will be performing its annual shut down for maintenance and repairs from Saturday, Aug. 26, through Monday, Sept. 4.

However, not all of the facility will be closed during that time period, officials said.

The first day, Saturday, Aug. 26, the Y will be open all day from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 27, it will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., officials said. However, the wellness center will close at noon that weekend.

On Monday, Aug. 28 through Wednesday Aug. 30, the facility will be closed with the exception of the membership desk, which will be open from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Court Rejects Developer’s Appeal for Wilton Road Housing

A Stamford developer has lost his battle to build a 48-unit multi-family housing project at the busy intersection of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road. Image
The 1.16-acre parcel at 122 Wilton Road sits at the busy intersection of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said today the Appellate Court on July 26 denied a petition for certification to appeal a May 25 decision by a Hartford Superior Court judge to dismiss the affordable housing lawsuit brought by Garden Homes of Stamford.

Judge Marshall Berger upheld a Westport Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission denial of the Garden Homes’ application to build at 122 Wilton Road. (See WestportNow May, 27, 2017)

“I am very pleased with this decision from the Appellate Court,” said Bloom.  “The Trial Court’s decision upholding our denial of this application now stands.

Library Groundbreaking Set for Sept. 14

The Westport Library announced today that the groundbreaking ceremony for its $19.5 million renovation project is set for Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. Image
A rendering of the Westport Library’s Great Hall in its forum setup. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic

The work, which will be done in phases to keep the library open, is expected to last between 18 and 21 months, officials said.

“For nearly a decade, the Library has been evaluating plans to transform our existing facility into a reimagined space that better meets the community’s needs,” said Bill Harmer, executive director. “As we prepare to officially break ground on the project, you can feel the excitement.”

The work will be done in three phases, the first being the Riverwalk Level designed to house the permanent adult book collection, to be used as quiet space, and it will feature a newly designed entrance. The work is expected to last eight months.