Halfway Home

When groundbreaking was held Wednesday for the new Halfway House at Longshore, it marked the end of a long campaign.

And the start of a new organization that could impact much more than just golf here in Westport.

This week’s ceremonial shoveling was the result of a team effort that raised private funds and developed construction plans. The building came in on time and way under budget thanks to leaders Fred Hunter and Mark Holod; donations of time, material and money from Westporters; a major gift in Cliff Ross’ name, and a tournament organized by Skip Lane and the Haberstroh “boys” (Chuck and Steve).

Longshore golfers will soon have a halfway house worthy of the course -- and the entire park.

The umbrella organization — Friends of Westport Parks & Recreation — is a non-profit that encourages tax-exempt private donations for a public purpose. With its 1st project nearly complete, the Friends group is now looking for other projects through which private individuals or groups can improve the town’s recreational opportunities and infrastructure.

No word yet on what those projects might be — a new ramp for kayaks and canoes? A bone for the Winslow dogs? A new clubhouse at Longshore?

But with over 2 dozen parks and athletic complexes around town — each with its own constituencies and concerns — there should be no lack of ideas.

What’s yours? Click “Comments” to give our Friends some friendly input.

(In other golf news, the Longshore course opens today. Tomorrow morning, the Longshore Men’s Golf Association sponsors its annual course cleanup day. Golfers, their kids, the Staples golf team — all put in a few hours to spiff up one of Westport’s crown jewels.)

Breaking ground on Wednesday (from left): Mark Holod, Katherine Ross, Jeff Mayer, Janis Collins, Fred Hunter, John Cooper.

13 responses to “Halfway Home

  1. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I have such good memories of playing golf at Longshore and stopping at the halfway house, especially playing with my dad, Harry Scott. I learned to play from the best, George Buck. I was just thinking of him as this week’s PGA tourney is at Doral in Miami where George was an assistant pro during the winter season.

  2. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I can think of two opportunities and places for this new venture. At wakeman town fields and at the beach, a fitness area. One that would consist of pull-up bars, step-up benches, and other fitness oriented obstacles for adults.

  3. You know when I think of golfers I generally picture rich white guys in silly outfits walking around telling bad jokes then getting drunk afterwards. I know it’s a stereotype, but that’s what I think, probably no truth to it, whatsoever. But when I read this article about golfers raising funds to put up a home on a golf course, no less, for drug abusers and people seeking to re-integrate themselves into society after prison or a stay in a mental hospital, I thought, Warren, you are going to have to reconsider your stereotypes. This is important work and I can only commend all of you for your community minded efforts to raise money and make this happen.

    • Yeah but what happens when someone wants to play through?

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      You are joking right? This is not for those who are halfway back into general society, but those who are halfway done with a round of golf.

      • Totally joking, just being silly. My post was not meant to be taken even slightly seriously. I did actually think it was a “half way house” when I originally saw the title and was really puzzled why people would want to put that on a golf course. After reading through the article I had to laugh at myself. I really do know absolutely nothing about golf!

  4. Patti brill

    The paddle courts could use a big makeover. While we are at it, how about another court? This could bring money into the town. The current court is a gem but is in such bad condition.

  5. What a great example of how much more efficiently (& tastefully) society develops when public-tax funds aren’t utilized.

  6. Thanks, Dan, for taking note of the Friends. Mark and Fred did the heavy lifting for the Halfway House but the Friends group was able to lend its 501c3 to the effort. A lot of worthwhile projects in Town are having trouble getting funding these days because of tight budgets. By using the Friends creative folks like Mark and Fred can put their ideas on the map. Right now the only other live project we are supporting is the Wakeman Town Farm. We look forward to taking on more! Please go to our website at http://www.WestportFriendsofParksRec.com for more info.

  7. Most important question – what brand of hot dogs will they be serving? Follow up – will they toast the buns?

    Thanks to all of you worked so hard and contributed to make this happen.

  8. Congratulations to those involved in raising the money. I totally disagree with the priority of an expensive hot dog stand instead of a focus on a driving range but found that “show me the money” is the only thing these folks really wanted to hear. That seems to be the ongoing town cheer.

  9. Second the help for Compo beach. The old brick structure really needs to go….