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The Sounds of Saugatuck Silence

Plans are proceeding for the redevelopment of Saugatuck.

(Courtesy of Westport Patch)

A nifty artist’s rendering is on display, showing in gauzy architect-vision the “new”  Riverside Avenue.  Phase I — planned for completion in early 2011 (known in Chinese as The Year Pigs Fly) — includes 4,000 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of offices, and 6 residential apartments.

The buildings will be called “Marsh” and “Tide,” which is better than faux English names like River Crossinge or Ye Olde Westport Place, yet ignores the area’s long Italian heritage completely.

The concept is sound:  bring back a small, bustling, pedestrian-friendly environment (though underneath the dark, massive I-95 bridge).  But already small, bustling businesses like De Rosa’s and the Saugatuck Barber Shop have been vacated.

Arguments can be made for and against such “progress.”

Yet — and this is what “06880” can’t understand — why is no one talking about this?

Westporters are passionate about many things.  Dogs on the beach, Parks and Rec’s online registration crashing for a few minutes, putting a group home on town-owned Post Road property — those get our backs up, and set our fingers typing.

For months, though, Saugatuck has been balanced on the edge of change.  A new neighborhood is coming.  What that means for all of us — wherever we live, whatever our heritage, how often or little we go there — is a matter of intense importance.

And incredible silence.

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