A Compo Charrette

Westporters love to complain about Westport. We’re not happy if we’re not bitching about some aspect of life here. Traffic, teardowns, taxes — it’s all fair game.

Whatever we say, we always wonder why “no one ever listens.”

Now it’s time to put up or shut up. And the topic is something nearly every Westporter feels passionately about: Compo Beach.

The spiritual heart of Westport has many stakeholders. Swimmers, joggers, boaters (with or without slips), human walkers, dog walkers, softball players, playground goers, neighbors, picnickers, bicyclists, summer campers, basketball players, barbecuers, skateboarders — everyone feels passionately about his or her favorite part of the beach.

Somehow, Compo manages to serve them all. But it gets harder every year.

Compo Beach is both timeless and ever-changing. Much is now different from this early 20th-century scene -- but plenty is not.

Compo Beach is both timeless and ever-changing. Much is now different from this early 20th-century scene — but plenty is not.

As part of its much-needed, long-awaited Compo Beach Master Plan, Parks & Rec is hosting a public meeting. But — like the beach itself — this one is special.

From 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday (November 23) at Bedford Middle School, Westporters are invited to a “charrette.” That’s a collaborative work session — including breakout sessions — at which community members, planners, landscape designers, architects and anyone else interested can craft solutions to a design challenge.

The challenges facing Compo’s master planners are many. How can traffic patterns be reconfigured to account for everything from more and wider strollers (the baby kind) and larger vehicles, to our increasing desire to park as close to our destination as possible?

Do the sports facilities still serve the needs of beachgoers? What should we do about the ancient lockers — beloved by some, an eyesore to others? Can we extend the boardwalk? Should all that land on South Beach stay open, or is it underutilized? Do some parts of the beach favor some groups, and shut out others? Why not move the cannons? (Just kidding about the last one.)

All are welcome at this important charrette. Pre-registration is not required. For more information — including a project summary — click here.

6 responses to “A Compo Charrette

  1. A thought from TED Talk

    Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind

    What would a city designed for the blind be like? Chris Downey is an architect who went suddenly blind in 2008; he contrasts life in his beloved San Francisco before and after — and shows how the thoughtful designs that enhance his life now might actually make everyone’s life better, sighted or not.


  2. Dan – Thanks for posting this important and timely notice. As our new First Selectman Jim Marpe said last night at the swearing in ceremony this is an opportunity for all Westporters to get involved and make their voices heard in the future shaping of a piece of our community. Come on down and be a part of the process. You don’t want to be the one a year from now standing around at Compo, looking at the changes and saying “who designed this?”

  3. Get rid of old bathhouses,
    reduce parking fees by 2/3 and open up passes to everyone, no limit.
    Leave the rest alone! Maintence-yes, change- no!

  4. I’m wondering what year the photo was taken. I was using Compo almost daily from 1930 on. My earliest recollection was of a sand-less, rocky beach,
    the cannon, and changing to swim suits in out brick locker. Also the life guard stations and the rafts. What looks like a sandy surface in the photo would place the time as pre-1930. It became sandy years later.

  5. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    A friend who visits Westport a few times a year remarked to me recently that only Compo was still the same (circa 1976!) One day I, too, will visit and see for myself.
    Don’t forget the meeting!

  6. Andy Moss - Compo Beach (Re)Design & Improvement Committee

    Thanks for posting Dan. This project is intended to understand what Westporters want from their experience at Compo and to build a plan to get us there. Anyone and everyone who has thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how the experience in and around the Compo Beach area can be enhanced are encouraged to participate.