Stumping On Main Street

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving — and the start of what everyone calls “the holiday season” — but downtown Westport looked decidedly unfestive.

This morning, work crews chopped down every tree on the west side of Main Street — right to ground level.

Word on the street (ho ho) is that light poles will replace the trees, which were planted only a few years ago. We’ll have to see if this is a step forward — aesthetically and Westportically speaking — or not.

Paul Bunyan arrived while several stores remain shuttered — more than 3 weeks after Sandy surged up Main Street, onto floors loaded with merchandise and into basements housing electrical equipment.

The locked doors and we-don’t-want-you-to-see-in windows added to the dismal atmosphere, on what is usually one of the most bustling days downtown.

At the same time — slowing what little traffic there was, while adding a decidedly un-holiday glow — work continued on the new “bump-out” opposite Westport Pizzeria.

Meanwhile, directly across Main Street, the little patch of life on the corner of Elm Street shows the after-effects of a recent accident. An enormous truck failed to make the tricky turn.

But hey. We’ve still got that magnificent tree next to Vineyard Vines.

For now, anyway.

29 responses to “Stumping On Main Street

  1. I like trees, birds like trees...

    A great thing to do before Black Friday.
    And the better be some pretty damn nice light poles!

  2. Very, very sad. Undefensible.

  3. Why couldn’t they just light the trees!!! Gordo?… What say you???

    • Exactly! It would have been beautiful, festive…

      WTF? Who made the decision? How much did it cost? Who’s budget allocated the funds? BoF, please check this out. Thanks.

  4. Joyce Barnhart

    And let us hope no one trips over what’s left of the trees and sues the town, the store owner, the Chamber of Commerce, the tree chopper downers and every other soul remotely connected to the removal of the trees. .

  5. Ummm —-eeeewwww. Why? Oh yeah – it matches the mcMansions.

  6. Did the Downtown Merchants group do this?

  7. The majority of trees which were taken down were dead. Add to that the salt water which drenched them and the ones which were clinging to life would surely die as well. That said, the bump out was completed and looks great (once all those dreadful signs are taken down). The jersey barriers which adorn the street now are the effects of Sandy and the work of CL&P to clean and repair the below grade transformers. I hope that section of Main Street where the trees were removed will be replaced by the beautiful light the WMDA installed on the new bump out. Also, when new trees, if any are planted, lets hope they do not drop the smelly fruits the prior trees littered the sidewalks with. In the end, i think all the change is good. That said, the process to create change is messy and a snap shot like today only shows the current situation, not the future. I am sure Westporter’s will be very proud of the town when all the work is completed.

    I for one am and it all seems to be getting better every day!

    Gobble Gobble

  8. Also, i really hope they get rid of the 1970 I-95 lamps as well. Cant they just chop those down as well.

  9. In the name of all things pre-1990 Westport

    Karen, let me guess. Bigger is better. New better than old. Why drive an Outback when you can drive a Surburban.

    • I have lived here for 35 years. I have no desire to turn back the clock to pre-1990 Westport. If you can’t adapt to the changes, maybe you should move elsewhere instead of deriding the choices of others.

  10. No, in the name of all things pre-1990 Westport or should i say old person living in the past. Change is inevitable and not always bad. New lamp posts of a scale and design fitted for a main street not a highway are better. Flowing trees for an urban setting are better then half dead smelly trees from days gone. I drive a Prius and to your surprise, I am over 70. Get your head out of the past and embrace the future you old fart.

  11. Karen, I loved your response until I got to the last line – very unnecessary.

  12. thank you Westport delight and mary. I agree the last my last line may have crossed the line but felt it was a necessary ending to my response. Since i too am an old fart, felt it was OK to point out the obvious.

  13. Dan, Love your blog, hate what the comments section has become.

  14. Isn’t it a violation of state law for the town to take down trees (absent exigent circumstances) without posting them with a public notice of intent to remove? The other towns around here all seem to be able to do this – I wonder why Westport doesn’t?

    Main Street is a sad place in certain ways and was before Storm Sandy – poorly maintained, uncared for and unloved. I wonder why if there is no ability to maintain what we have, there always seems to be a push for more – more buildings, more parking, more sidewalks, etc. Why make more when you can’t maintain what you have?

    I’d like to see Westport’s downtown be a beautiful place. It hasn’t been since I’ve been in town. I like to think there is hope … but I can’t imagine a downtown devoid of trees. At least not one that would be appealing.

    • There is hope. Just look at the beautiful transformation Church Lane has made. I am sure the WDMA and Downtown 20/20 groups are working to improve the ascetics of the town, which includes new sidewalks, proper trees (the ones which were cut where mostly dead), street lamps and more. I for one loved the bedford square project for the YMCA (, which is being done by the same developer who did the other side of Church Lane.

      Things are getting better and i for one cant wait till all the work is done.

      • OK, now I’m convinced that “Karen” is really Karen Johnson of Bedford Square. This type of sock-puppet “Lobbying” is really not cool.

        • My thoughts as well. The funny aspect is the transparency…that really is not cool. But ya know what? It’s funny 😉

  15. Wait till they install parking meters.

  16. Sorry to burst your bubble Mr. McCarthy but i have no relations to anyone in Westport, other then my late husband. my kids have all moved away (although here this weekend for thanksgiving) I do however love our town, having lived here since 1964 and have enjoyed the new vibrancy along church lane. I know about bedford square because i follow the local news/blogs. It is hard not to like what was done across the street with Patagonia, Urban Outfitters and the Spotted Horse. Brick sidewalks, granite curbs, gas lamps, pocket parks, outdoor dining, beautiful pots. It just looks great. It is well maintained and feels like old town Westport. Just because I am now in my 70’s does not mean i am blind. Open your eyes and tell me if you don’t see the same things i do. My point above was that these trees will be replaced. The street lamps made more appropriate.

    Just pointing out the obvious. My plug for Bedford Square was only because i like what i have seen so far. Now i hear they are willing to donate the cost to move the house to town land. Another great idea. Good for them and shame on you for thinking my comments are lobbying when again, i am only pointing out the obvious.

  17. For me, the Bedford proposal was very disappointing. All concrete, dense tall structures, no vegetation, perhaps one lone tree in the middle of ginormous concrete plaza as I recall? It had the feel of downtown Bridgeport to me. Also it would destroy Elm Street by turning it into nothing but a parking access road. And that huge airport-like drop off to the Bedford parking garage? Orlando Int’l Airport in the center of Westport. I wasn’t a fan at all. But, the idea of moving the Gunn house to Elm Street could be a slight turn in a better direction… ? Well, let’s hope.