For many years, Luciano Park was a thriving neighborhood playground.
For 2 years during college, in fact, my summer job was supervising the small Saugatuck spot, between the railroad station and parking lot. Another counselor and I kept an eye on kids, organized a few games, and set up bus trips to amusement parks and Yankee Stadium.
Later, when Parks and Rec stopped funding the positions — and the area changed — Luciano Park was known mainly as the site of the annual Festival Italiano.
These days, it’s largely forgotten. And almost completely unused.
The reasons are varied. Saugatuck is no longer a place of small homes and large families.
The few kids with free time in the summer don’t play baseball in parks. They don’t swing on swings.
No one does, anywhere in Westport — except for the very creative Compo playground, which has sand, water and food nearby.
I was reminded of all this after receiving an email and photos from alert “06880” reader JP Vellotti. Walking through Luciano Park at 12:30 last Friday afternoon, without a soul in sight, he thought: “If there is a park in Westport that needs a master plan, this is it!”
As Westport thinks about its future, let’s give this park some thought. It need not only be for kids. Hundreds, maybe more, quite literally ‘park’ nearby every day.
Could this be a quiet place to sit before or after work? Why not add a fitness station as an alternative to the gym?
Good questions, all. And as Railroad Place prepares for the next stage of Saugatuck’s redevelopment, and residents throughout town ponder both Compo Beach and downtown improvements, why not add this tiny, valuable parcel into the planning mix?