5o years ago, Westport bought Longshore.
The entire process — from conception to approval — took 18 days.
It was the right thing to do.
Half a century later the town has the chance to build senior housing at Baron’s South — land we already own.
It will take considerably longer than 18 days — no doubt more than 18 months.
Once again, it’s the right thing to do.
The proposal — presented last week by 1st and 2nd Selectmen Gordon Joseloff and Shelley Kassen at meetings of the P&Z, RTM Long Range Planning Committee and the Senior Services Committee — would involve 66 units of 1- and 2-bedroom rentals. More than half would be available to people earning approximately $50,000.
A “mansion” on the property — currently a deteriorating structures used to store library books — would become an 84-bed skilled nursing facility.
Also available: assisted living services, such as meals, housekeeping and hospice care. Shuttle service would be available between the senior housing and the current Senior Center.
The town would find a non-profit partner to assist in the project.
For too long we’ve farmed out our senior citizens — and affordable housing — to other towns and cities. It’s past time to do our share.
Baron’s South is not Winslow Park, on the other side of Compo Road across US1. The Baron’s terrain is tough — you can’t walk dogs there, or cross country ski. Though the public has had access for years, it’s virtually unused.
Each event celebrating Longshore has had a common theme: Imagine what this town would be like today if our politicians lacked the foresight — and will — to buy the property.
We already own Baron’s South. Now let’s have the foresight — and will — to do something smart, and good, with it.