Mike Calise: “I Have Concerns About The Compo Beach Improvements”

Mike Calise

Mike Calise

Mike Calise is a familiar figure in Westport. Whether selling real estate, riding in his Jeep with the top down and doors off, or — most typically — walking on Compo Beach in every season, the 1958 Staples graduate and Marine Corps veteran has a native’s feel for the rhythms of our town.

Mike is following the news of the Compo re-imagining closely. The other day, he wrote to “06880.” Mike said:

I have become increasingly concerned with the direction the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee is taking. My read on the citizens forum I attended last fall was that most residents were comfortable with Compo as it is. They did call for improvements in the concession and bathhouse area, and an additional bathroom area at South Beach.

Although people talked about other wish list items, such as mini-golf, most everyone stated that they preferred the current beach configuration. A reconfiguration of the entrances was high on the Recreation Commission’s agenda, and most found that acceptable. Beyond that it was: It’s not broke. Don’t fix it.

Everyone loves Compo Beach. But this serene view belies a discussion that's brewing about changes to traffic patterns.

Everyone loves Compo Beach. But this serene view belies a discussion that’s brewing about changes to traffic patterns.

The committee, however — along with the consultants — has pursued a completely different path. They are moving toward an internal parking lot, with minimal parking opportunities beyond that.

They have developed a plan that eliminates all perimeter parking. No parking along the beach edge, from the bathhouses to the cannons. No parking in front of the grills at South Beach. No parking in the boat launch area. And greatly reduced parking at the marinas. They favor an internal parking area with its own traffic loop in and out of the beach (the “half loop”). Although the full drive through the beach roadway is currently in the plan, there is strong sentiment to eliminate it, along with the perimeter parking.

Since time immemorial -- well, for many decades -- cars have parked close to the shore.

Since time immemorial — well, for many decades — cars have parked close to the shore.

Their theory is that people need to get out of their cars and walk. In taking this position they have completely ignored young families with lots of gear and children, older adults who may not have the ability or desire to walk long distances toting gear, and boaters with fishing gear and supplies.

As you know, the beach is used in many different ways, on a year-round basis.

During the winter people spend time in their cars just enjoying the views. In summer the grills are heavily used. Having easy access to vehicles — especially for families with young children — is a great asset, and far safer than having to walk across a roadway to access cars for unexpected needs.

There's nothing like a sunset on Compo's South Beach.  A plan being considered would move cars further away from this -- and other -- beach areas.

There’s nothing like a sunset on Compo’s South Beach. A plan being considered would move cars further away from this — and other — beach areas.

Being able to park at the edge of the beach between the bathhouse and the cannons to tailgate or just put a chair on the sand is important to many. I have seen this done regularly. In short, the ease of access which is enjoyed and cherished by all is under threat of elimination.

As part of this substantive change, the committee is planning walkways and drop off points. All are in the design stage.

The committee meets every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Room 201 of Town Hall. The next meeting is this Wednesday (April 9). These meetings are informal, and all who wish to speak are given an opportunity.

This is truly a time where resident opinions are important!

According to plans, a new entrance to the beach would be constructed near Roosevelt Road (opposite the marina). Traffic would loop through the center of the beach, further from the marina, South Beach and the "regular" beach than it does now.

According to plans, a new entrance to the beach would be constructed near the marina. Traffic would loop through the center of the beach, further from the boats, South Beach and the “regular” beach than it does now. (Photo/Katherine Hooper)

82 responses to “Mike Calise: “I Have Concerns About The Compo Beach Improvements”

  1. joey Kaempfer

    I am in complete agreement with Mike Calise. Compo is damn wonderful as it is.

    A few weeks ago I visited town (I still have a house in Weston) and stopped at Compo. The mountain of snow was still in evidence. I suppose that would be where the new, smaller parking area would be? Anyway, every beach side parking spot was taken by both people walking and sitting in their cars; it was chilly.

    I too subscribe to: if it ain’t broke (and it aint) don’t fix it.

    Thank you,

    Joey

  2. Loretta Mikaiel

    I feel the energy and time expended thus far to the beach parking would be better suited to reconfiguring downtown parking. That is a true town issue.

  3. Some things just don’t need an overhaul, little tweaks now an then but never an overhaul.

  4. bobbi essagof

    The las thing this town needs is the loss of any parking spaces, anywhere. Thank you Joey!

  5. Jamie Walsh

    Mike Calise is 100% right. Compo has a rhythm that currently works and has since as long as I have been coming! Watch the use! I love to drive and park by the boat launches and have a quick lunch and go for a quick walk. People setup kites, fish or barbecues and picnics. Fix the bath houses and concession. General improvements are ok….major changes are not necessary to feel a change was made or accomplished. Look around at what other towns have compared to Compo…. My point exactly! Enjoy and make subtle but noticible changes to improve use….not alter it!

  6. PAT SAVIANO

    I agree with Mike. Removing parking from the beach areas is a big mistake. It will make it much more difficult to have a family picnic on South Beach. It will also prevent a lot of elderly from enjoying the scenery from the comfort of their cars. Not to mention how many others go down there just to sit in their cars and read the paper or have lunch when it’s too cold to walk. The beach could use some sprucing up but not a major change is usage!

  7. And how will Staples couples park at Compo to watch the late evening submarine races??

  8. Wanda Tedesco

    I agree with Mike also. Why must we always take such drastic measures to fix what is not broken. I have been going to that beach for 70 years and have never, ever had a problem with getting in or parking. Can’t they just add what we need such as south end restrooms, new tables and clean up the areas around the parking area so that it looks better. We like to pull in and just look at the sound sometimes. Major changes, NO!

  9. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    This “site improvement committee” should be immediately dissolved, thanked for their time (which they have totally wasted but its their time, right?) and the whole discussion should be re-booted and re-framed. Compo Beach is the original Westport “town treasure” and it is inconceivable that this committee has so quickly and so totally wandered off course from what makes sense, what is needed from a practical perspective and what will keep the residents (taxpayers) as happy with Compo for the next 100 years as they have been for the last 100. I haven’t paid taxes in Westport since moving away in 1978 but when I visit its the first and last place I go. My entire life from 1952 to the present has had nothing but memorable experiences at Compo and they want to turn it into the long-term parking lot at Newark Airport. Question: Have they discussed shuttle bus service so the people can get from the parking lot to the beach? Or maybe moving walkways would make more sense.

  10. I too agree with Mike Calise’s opinions. However, it has been characteristic of “committees” formed in Westport to make unnecessary and unfortunate. choices. When a “committee” makes a poor decision, no one owns it, but the town must live with it for the long term. The Compo Beach “committee” will likely be no different. The Downtown “committee” will likely be no different. “Committees” develop their own dynamics and impulses. The only way to reduce the overreach and the unfortunate outcomes is to let elected officials know there will be some consequences for bad decisions made by “committees” they appoint.

  11. Daniel Katz

    How could any right thinking person disagree with Calise’s take on the Compo Beach “improvements” sought by the committee?

    Why would anyone screw with what’s there now and works so well? If the ass holes pushing for the changes make any headway, there should be a taxpayer revolt.

    • Let’s keep it civil, please. This is an important discussion, one I don’t want to shut off. Reasonable people can disagree reasonably.

  12. Stacy Prince

    Mr. Calise makes a compelling argument. I have to add that I’m surprised no one but Mr. Flock has mentioned the cost of these suggested “improvements.” Until tax increases stop outpacing income increases, committees might at least consider more budget-friendlyl improvements — like fixing the potholes.

  13. Clifford Cuseo

    5 Generations of my family walked that beach. I grew up there. I still enjoy a drive thru, park and have a hotdog with friends grilling. I have NEVER seen any problems with the beach setup nor heard concerns from locals that the beach had issues or was inadequate. I will guess that the committee is made up of temporary residents who recently moved into Westport for it’s great amenities, got bored and formed this idea to change something that has remained the same. Reminds me of a groups years back that complained we needed more schools but never knew about Greens Farms, Bedford El, Saugatuck El, Burr Farms or Hillspoint. Just another “let’s do something different”. Leave it alone so my grandchildren can enjoy it!

    • Loretta Santella Hallock

      Mike is right. We could use a better entrance so that cars don’t get backed up, update restrooms and add some at South Beach. Other than that PLEASE leave our beach alone.

  14. Mike Calise is spot on. This is our nice little community beach, and it has served our community quite well. We need to be very careful with this.

  15. Tracy Robinson

    Why doesnt this committee find a PROBLEM to fix? Send them over to Sasco Creek Road (where there is TONS of foot traffic, dog traffic, bike traffic, truck traffic, and a MAJOR accident waiting to happen) and fix the bloody potholes (make that POT DITCHES) that cause drivers to use only one lane on a blind curve. Leave Compo alone!

  16. A. David Wunsch

    Mike: This is an excellent letter. You are the town’s memory and conscience. I’m proud to know you.
    A. David Wunsch
    Staples, 1956

  17. Chou Chou Merrill

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Calise. I have grave concerns that this will be another Longshore trees. PLEASE do not let this be a case of the Town knowing what it wants to do and simply going through the motions of having public meetings. The Nanny should not tell people they need to walk further.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      Hi Chou Chou,
      While I agree with you emphatically about abuse of chain saws this has potential to be much more harmful from a permanence perspective than the Longshore trees. The “strategic intent” of this committee is only slightly less toxic than the nuclear power plant idea for Cockenoe Island in ’68 (and some of us will NEVER forget how close that one came to fruition). This committee must be shut down (and dissolved) based on what they have “accomplished” thus far. Anything else risks this beautiful town falling off a cliff that the “committee” can’t even recognize they have brought it to.

  18. Mike Chuckta

    Leave it be, it has worked for generations, and the same old scenario people on the board and town officials wanting change for the pure reason of making a legacy for them selves with the ultimate goal of power.
    My family has a rich history with Westport and especially Compo Beach, many generations ago a 11th Great Uncle defended the shores of Compo and gave the ultimate!!!! his death as a Patriot.
    Go find another problem in another town and leave it be.

  19. Bart Shuldman

    Once again we learn that a committee is formed and the result could be something we all do not want. Michael Calise uncovers year another example. And this one, while I highly doubt it will happen, seem ridiculous. Can you imagine all the cars stopping by the grills to droop off their food and stuff, creating more traffic? Are we trying to save 2 minutes exiting the beach? Is there something wrong with parking by the beach in the cold winter trying to remember a summers day? Wow. IOnce agin it goes to–you cannot make this up.

    If we find this has any chance of moving forward I would be happy to form a petition to get it to stop.

    Or better yet, maybe our town leadership will step in and guide this committee back to something productive. Do I hear a bathroom at South Beach?

    • Bathrooms — and a concession — at South Beach have been proposed. So has a new, less traffic-intensive — entrance. And a boardwalk extending to the cannons. All are very positive ideas. The parking concept though — not so much.

  20. Janice Beecher

    What Mike said! I really have nothing to add. I will reiterate the point that people with young children and lots of gear and seniors need to be parked next to the beach. Moving the parking is a really dumb idea! More parking is good, but don’t move it off the beach.

  21. Nick Thiemann

    I agree with all of the above comments.

    What is more curious is that no one has come to the defense of the “committee.”

  22. Judy Strauss

    PLEASE LEAVE THE BEACH ALONE . ITS works just fine..

  23. Michael A. Laux

    I agree with Mike and Nick and all the rest. Fix what needs fixing and leave the rest alone. Compo beach is a treasured part of Westport. Let’s keep something of what made this town what it was!

  24. Cathy Romano

    I too agree with Mike and all of the above.
    Perhaps we should get a beach through pass like easy pass then “sticker cars can go right in.” Update restrooms get new tables on South Beach fix what is in disrepair and PLEASE leave our beach alone.

  25. Michael Brennecke

    Obviously everyone here has a past with Compo. One of the great things about it is the social meeting place aspect. When we agree to meet someone at the beach, which is one of the best parts of living here, how do we locate them? We look for their cars, which means we’ve found them, or we’re damn close. That can’t work with a central parking lot.
    Also, the cruise factor is huge for me personally, I’ve been doing it all my life just for the recharge, in all seasons. My mother did it before me. It’s why I’ve never had much interest in Sherwood Island. Central parking.

    I think what happens when someone forms a committee, is that the people involved feel compelled to do something substantial or they’ll be perceived as having not done their job. It take strong minds to recognize when doing less is truly doing more.

  26. David Stalling

    Well said Mike! I fully agree.

  27. Alyse Connelly

    I couldn’t agree more with mike and every other comment. My family, friends and I count the days until our summer at compo starts, complete with parking by the grills. I look forward to having to jump in the cars for an occasional summer rain, only to have it pass and continue our fun. Leave it alone….. Please!!!!!!

  28. Daniel Katz

    OK. Thirty two comments supporting Mike’s critique…now what?
    Whos gonna’ translate the frustration and anger that resides in ALL thirty two comments, into some sort of action to get the over zealous jerks behind the changes to see the light?
    Not I. But I would contribute toward the effort.

    • Bart Shuldman

      We have not heard from anyone on the committee so I suggest we wait until they either confirm their intent to change the parking or let us know it was only a consideration. They deserve to say something before taking action. Maybe seeing all these comments will stop this.

      Hopefully this will end quickly. If not I would be happy to begin a petition or conversation with those that can help.

      • Daniel Katz

        Will folks (or A folk) from the committee see these posts?….not eveyone reads Woog….I never did until alerted to Calise’s piece. Never even knew the blog existed.

  29. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    I agree with Mike Calise, The only improvements that should be made are clear bike and walking paths, or a boardwalk in front of the parked cars between the concession and cannons. A bathroom close to picnic area would be nice. We should be able to drive around as we and my parents and grandparents did. we should be able to park at the marina and south beach with our heavy coolers, and the beach with our gear. Not everyone can walk with heavy stuff great distances. Also an easier entrance with paying lane could be made clear. Thank you, Juliana Sloane Fulbright

  30. John G. Lambros

    I am a 44 year Westport resident. . Our town has lost its small town ambiance and we keep heading towards a direction of a big city. Let’s please leave our gemstone beach as it exists and cease trying to make it a Coney Island. What Combo Beach needs is TLC, repair the wear and tear and maintain the small town identity of Westport.

  31. Appears to have zero logic. Parking as currently laid out is perfect.
    With this concept there is more inconvenience and unnecessary costs adding to our already tight Town budget.

  32. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it.

  33. Carol Lupo-Simek

    Westporters love the simple pleasures of Compo Beach – sunning, reading, walking, relaxing, and enjoying social time with family and friends. It’s a place to meet and gather. This town does not need a theme park. And eliminating the perimeter parking does nothing more than show extreme inconsideration for seniors and families. It simply makes no sense.

  34. Diane silfen

    Dan. Maybe you could print all this and give a copy to that comm Just a thought

    • Thanks, Diane – but I will let someone else take on that task!

      • Linda Gramatky Smith

        I’ll be glad to take a copy of the story and all the comments (as well as all the comments to the head of the committee’s article and the map) to the next committee meeting (public welcome, Michael Calise says) on Wednesday, April 23, Room 201 in Town Hall. At least we’ll know they have seen them. 🙂

  35. Susan Huppi

    Keep Compo the way it is–accessible to everyone. It’s one of the treasures of Westport..I know that people will mobility issues and those with a lot of gear appreciate getting as close as they can.

  36. Bettina Calise Cooleen

    Compo is in my heart – always has been. I have been enjoying its beauty for as long as I can remember. I was just there this past weekend telling my daughters how I used to play in the showers & the foot bath with the running spout – that we would turn on & off our own – constantly. We thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! I have fished off the jetty by the cannons with my brother, collected starfish & snails for hours on end. My siblings & I ate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches filled with sand, sailed off of South Beach in our Sunfish that we simply rolled to shore from where we parked – all because we were able pull up, take out our wares & misc. sundries & enjoy the day! It was glorious! As I grew older, gatherings with friends & family were endless! Breakfast @ South Beach was every Sunday, rain or shine! How many times have I driven around when I needed some time to myself, or to look for a friend, or to read a good book on a sunny spring day? How about a drive around to see the sunset, or Cockenoe sparkling on the Sound, or even the snow wafting over the water at winter? And the cannons?! How many of us have pulled up to that amazing piece of history & played all over it for hours?! Endless amounts of time spent, endless amounts of time driving around the most perfect setting…. Let’s leave Compo the way it is & offer these endless memories to its future! By the way, thank you A. David Wunsch for your very kind words about my father. I am in absolute agreement, as he is the one who loved Compo before I was even in his life & because of him & his love for Compo, I have the fondest of memories…..

  37. Jake Gulick

    At the beginning of Mr Calises letter, he links the Committees page. I went there and reviewed the concepts and plans, and they ask for your feedback. I’d suggest that, if one wants their opinions heard, they add their input where it’s requested. Here’s what I wrote:
    “To the Committee: You have, I hope, gotten much feedback to the concepts proposed, and my take is that most are resistant to such changes. I’m one of them. Please, please, save the time, disruption and huge cost of totally reconfiguring the park with new roads, moved parking areas, and moved athletic fields. Identify the biggest issues that currently exist and remedy those, and only those. My take is that the traffic snarl at the entrance and the lack of restrooms at the south beach are true pressing problems. At the MOST, alter the entrance as shown in Concept 2 to accommodate drop offs for day campers. Adding a second ‘turning lane” along Compo Beach Road would go a long way to easing issues as well. Add a modest bathroom pavilion with outdoor showers and a small concession area to the south beach. A lesser issue is creating better biking and pedestrian pathways. Merely adding paths, (or widening existing roads with a true separation for cyclists) would work wonders. As it currently stands, biking into Compo Beach is sketchy, and I’ve hugged the curbs on my bike many times, yet still been brushed by drivers sightseeing or texting or otherwise not paying proper attention.
    Other than that, leave well enough alone, and use the millions of dollars that the changes suggested in the alternate proposals would cost into finishing existing projects and maintaining crumbling infrastructures, such as the disintegrating roads. I appreciate the committees efforts and imagination, but lets not get carried away…people move to Westport for the schools and the beach, so don’t screw with the formula.

  38. I too enjoyed the evening submarine races, but also watched my parents, in their 80s and 90s at the time, walking the boardwalk for exercise, for reminiscence, and for connection. Parking close made that possible, as well as allowing them to enjoy the beach without leaving the car when it was too cold for a walk. Right on, Mike!

  39. Michelle Backus

    If parking is a problem Parks and Rec should make it more difficult for out of town residents to enter the beach. Period. In Greenwich you need to go to Town Hall M-F to get a parking pass for your car and for each individual without an in town resident sticker if you want to go to the beach over the weekend. There are so few summer weekend days where Westport residents can enjoy one of our towns biggest assets. It infuriates me to see countless NY State license plates, and vans packed with out of town residents who only pay admission for one car at our beach. Better bathrooms would be nice, but I would like to see this addressed. Other than that Compo is fine just the way it is.

  40. I have lived in Westport my whole life. Like many of the other people here I have seen the dramatic changes in town as of the last twenty or so years all but erase my memories of where I grew up. I respectfully disagree that Compo Beach needed any constructional “improvements”. The beauty of South Beach is that it DOESN’T have a concession or a bathroom area. The area between the bath house and the cannons DOESN’T have a boardwalk. It’s a beach, and a beautiful one at that. Leave it as untouched from this point as possible. I’m sorry to say that I believe this all stems from the recently arrived residents in town that want everything to be shiny, new, and right from the box. If a petition is started or anyone would like help I would be happy to jump on board .

  41. Tami Campos

    We literally count the days when we can buy our beach pass and spend as many days/nights enjoying Compo beach with our family and friends. Many of our visits are at the cannons/bbq’s and I can’t imagine having to schlep all of our gear across a burning hot, crowded parking lot where I would probably lose my car after the sun went down! If you must make improvements, stick with the bathrooms (upgrades there are always appreciated) and maybe sift the sand to make it softer! Besides that, it’s PERFECT! Thanks, Mike Calise!

  42. I appreciate Mr. Calise bringing this up as I, too, was surprised when I read that there were to be some substantive changes being recommended by the committee.

    My wife and I had the pleasure of participating in the charrette that was held in November where well over 100 Westporters had a chance to express our wishes for the beach and to respond to 4 quite elaborate proposals by the consultants to “enhance” the beach’s functioning. Each table was given time to express their wishes and the overwhelming response was that other than a few tweaks for things like better bath facilities, a bocce court, and some improvement to traffic flow upon entrance, nothing really dramatic needed to be changed.

    While funding of changes got very little focus, it was clear that we all knew that we did not have a blank check and I am sure that influenced the desire to temper the changes. The plans, as outlined by Mr. Calise, sound rather costly and do not appear to reflect at all what was brought forward by the townspeople in attendance at the charrette. It definitely would beneficial if someone from the committee could clarify this disconnect as they were also present at the meeting.

  43. Jo Shields Dickison

    My family and I (and dogs in winter) agree with the above. Thank you Michael for your informative letter.

  44. Arline P.Gertzoff

    Mike Calise has said it all.Yes the entrance could be improved.I find the concession stand,old bathhouses,boardwalk,,rather endearing though I suppose an upgrade makes some sense.A real bathroom on SouthBeach would be nice.For the rest I say LCA(Leave Compo Alone).My family has been in Westport for 75 years and this year will be my 67th Compo summer.How about debating a new drinking fountain?? Now that would be a worthwhile upgrade. Thanks Mike for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

  45. John Brandt

    As a lifelong Westport resident and retired Compo Beach lifeguard, I’ve used the beach on a regular basis since 1948. Working there in the 60s gave me an even greater appreciation for its charms and rejuvenating spirit. You can polish a gem, but cutting it up only diminishes its brilliance.

    Compo Beach is such a gem. Let’s polish, not destroy its essence.

  46. Carol Becker

    Please forget about having miniature golf at Compo Beach. Use that space to save current parking facilities, which are essential to families and seniors.

  47. Georgia Rojas

    My first question would be WHY? How is this going to benefit anyone? There’s barely enough parking at the beach as it is when you factor in all the people who come here from out of town. As a resident, I quite often can’t even find a parking spot at the beach in the summer and let’s not forget about the Fourth of July & Labor Day! Less parking is definitely not the answer. The beach has been the way it is for how many years? I’ve never heard anyone complain about it because I’m sure not many people have. Improvements can always be made but this does not sound like an improvement!

  48. tanah kalb and hilmar meyer-bosse

    the beach is great how it is …. it’s worked all these years exactly how we all like it – leave it alone – let the committee listen to us who actually use it

  49. Jennifer Rankine

    I submitted a comment and the link to this thread via the Committee’s website. It is important they hear from everyone concerned either via email or at the meetings. Thank you, Mr. Calise, for your important and informative update, and I’ll repeat below what you noted above for the next meeting date.

    “The committee meets every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Room 201 of Town Hall. The next meeting is this Wednesday (April 9). These meetings are informal, and all who wish to speak are given an opportunity.”

  50. Adam Schwartz '75

    I haven’t lived in Westport for over 39 years but everytime I visit I stop at Compo no matter what time of year. I don’t even think about or plan my visit. I just go!. Now that this subject has come up, the parking is probably the big reason I stop by each time because it’s so convenient. Why would anyone want to change this? Maybe the people in control should go on a field trip and visit other cities up and down the coast to see how they have messed up their beach access and maybe they’ll leave this alone!

  51. john gaynor

    As an on and off resident of Westport for many years, Compo is one of the few places in town that hasn’t changed much. It saddens me that it very well might be ruined. I’m pessimistic about any new direction that improves the quality of life in Westport. Baby Boomers like myself, won’t put their money where their mouth is. We are cynical and apathetic whiners. We are not made of the same stuff as our mothers and fathers – Don’t forget they are the ones that saved the majestic island you look out on when you used to sit in the cannons.Get over it and head to southwest Florida.

  52. Sandy Soennichsen

    I have to preface this by saying that I agree with almost all of these comments about not going drastic on Compo and doing a complete makeover. But this morning, at Oscar’s, I happened to meet Andy Moss, the chairman of the beach committee. I took the opportunity to voice my comments, but also asked if he and the members have seen the comments on this illustrious blog; and he answered that he had. And he added that there was some incorrect information being exchanged, but that everyone is invited to attend any of their meetings and voice their comments, concerns, etc. I got the distinct impression that nothing has been set in stone yet, just a lot of information exchanged and comments considered. At least he didn’t appear like an ogre that was just going to charge wildly into the possible Compo remedies and damn the torpedoes or the cannons. So maybe there is some hope.

  53. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Those of us sad folks that have moved out of Wetspot will never forgive ourselves.

    • john gaynor

      Eric, (from cub scout days) I was nostalgic until I found Naples, Fl. We save beaches down here by buying them from the cities and putting them into trust – No politics. No egos.
      Compo is wonderful, but saving it is dubious, Nobody ever puts their money where their mouths are in Westport..Soon it will blow over just like downtown,The Barons, and Longshore. Then everybody’s back on Xanex.

      .

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

        John,
        How’re you doing? Thanks for reminding me I was once a cub scout. That was one of the more innocuous activities we used to engage in at Greens Farms School 😉
        Take care.
        Eric

  54. Charlie Haberstroh

    I appreciate the time and effort Mike has spent on this issue. I assure all readers that Andy Moss and the other members of the Committee are genuinely interested in your ideas and thoughts. Some members have been Compo Beach goers for their entire lives. I encourage anyone who feels strongly about Compo Beach to attend one or more of their biweekly meetings. In addition the Committee expects to make a presentation at a special meeting of the Parks and Rec Commission.in the next two months. All meetings are publicly noticed and open to the public. I suspect that most elected or appointed town officials monitor 06880DanWoog, but the most effective way to express your thoughts is to go to the meetings and make your voice heard.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chair, Westport Parks and Rec. Commission

    • Daniel Katz

      In fact, Charles, I have been told that going to the meetings is NOT the way to be heard best. Further, it has been said by attendees that speakers have been made to feel Unwelcome.

      It would seem that a caring committee would not burden residents with coming to meetings but would, instead, give full wight to comments such as those on this web site…to not do so is pure and simple misfeasance.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Charlie–good to hear from you. As always, thanks for your input and work you do for the town.

      However, respectfully disagree with your statement ‘the most effecient way to express our thoughts’…..please–lets be honest—most have a life to manage. With today’s smart phones, iPads (plug for Apple) and laptops and computers, the most effecient way is to get responses is electronically. People work and some if not most have chidlren that take up our time. Whether its helping with homeowrk, attending sports, or just wanting to spend time at home with the family, it should not be required to state aour feelings about what is best for our town (as easy as this one is), by attending a ‘meeting’.

      Many times these meetings are attending by 20 to 30 people trying to convice the town to make a decision to ‘their’ agenda. The rest of the thousands normally have no idea what is going on. And many do not have the time to attend these hearings or meetings.

      If it was not for 06880, a lot of these issues would happen without anyone in town even knowing. Thankfully people like Michael Calise have the time to attend a hearing and inform us thru 06880 (thank you DAN!!!!).

      Again, out of respect for all you do, most of us do not have the time to attend a meeting to voice our opinion ( and this one is easy). Unfortunately we have a committee that seems out of touch, given 100% of the response on 06880 have been so neagtive.

      Maybe we can find a ‘real’ effecient way–use modern technology—and not force us to leave our homes–or find it necessary to leave a business commitment or other type of meeting–or a game–to let others know.

      In the meantime, I plan to make copies of the many responses on 06880 to the Compo Beach issue. To avoid mailing, maybe you can tell me who to email.

      • Daniel Katz

        Thank you, Bart, for your reasoned, calm and thoughtful input to the “committee.”
        With any luck, maybe that committee will heed your call in the spirit with which you unttered it.

  55. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Not going to a face to face meeting means one is either lazy or scared (i.e. doesn’t understand the facts in order to provide a reasonable, thoughtful solution).
    Would you let your kids get away with such excuses?

    Always so much talk here, and no action.

    • Nancy, you have an amazing capacity to throw stones from thousands of miles away. The meeting is 5:30 pm on a Wednesday. Would your parents have been able to make that meeting time? Could you? Please have a little sympathy for people. You haven’t lived in this town for decades.

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        If my parents cared, then yes. Because I care, I do.
        Why not a 7 pm meeting? The day of the week is irrelevant.

        • Sorry, Nancy, but when your dad was working in NY, and your mom was caring for 3 little kids, I don’t think she would have been at the meeting. I’m just sayin’….

          • Nancy Hunter Wilson

            How about 8pm, then? Or, a Saturday morning? Just one member per household is enough to give/take info. Better than nothing.

        • Daniel Katz

          Nancy,
          You are not only myopic and ill-informed, you are rushing to a judgement about people who have worked with and thought about this town; its zoning, its traffic and its housing for years and years..back off until you know what’s going on and how it all works.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Nancy. I do not think many would say ‘all talk no action’ about me. Got to say you got me laughing though. Too funny.

  56. I agree wholeheartedly with Michael Calise…and also with Carol Land. My 91-year old mom along with my husband Michael and I walk at the beach all year round. My mom has balance issues, and parking close to the beach itself makes all the difference. On days it’s too cold for her, we park in one of those spots right in front of the sand and watch the waves. Heaven.

  57. Mike… Is on point!! let’s leave well enough alone… We are not inventing the wheel… Just keeping it true… Let’s clean up fix up and add things that will better its use… Like bathrooms… Wi-fi for those who can’t unplug… Maybe a fitness/workout area for all the healthy living peeps… We don’t need a new traffic pattern

  58. As a Weston resident who purchases a beach pass (about $220 for a few months), I am deeply concerned about changes to access at Compo, for my family and for the elderly.
    I volunteer taking senior citizens (all from Westport) to their doctor appointments, and often stop by the beach to give a glimpse of the water to my passengers. Many of them are not fully ambulatory, and to take away spots that give these seniors safe, quick and easy access to the beach and the water would be to take away their moments of Zen. I do not have a handicap sticker (as I am not disabled) so there is no way I’d be able to continue taking my senior friends down to the beach if those spots are taken away. Seniors don’t like to hang by the playground; they like to hang by the canons and along the strip where the grills are; the waters are calm and generally shallow, allowing for quick dips.
    As a mother who enjoys taking her three children (and all their accoutrements) to the beach, I worry that the reconfiguration will reduce our easy access. It’s not that walking farther is a hardship, so much as it’s tough to get everything in one trip, and I would never leave my three kids while I chug back to the car to get more stuff. Walking with three kids also puts them in traffic, which is a big worry.
    The charm of Compo for the past 15 yrs or so that I’ve lived close-by is the easy access to the beach and the fact that if you have to run to the car to change a baby or get more gear, everything is right there.
    Please keep the elderly and children (and their already harried Moms and Dads) in mind, and do not remove parking from the areas which allow us the best access.
    Thank you.

  59. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Simply, it seems that Mr. Calise is urging more people to attend meetings, a fairly universal problem.

    At any rate, I do apologize.

    • You’re correct,Nancy.
      Calise was suggesting more folks go to the meetings and we ( I ) should be greatful for your interest and not jump on you as we (I) did…sorry.
      Dan (Katz)

  60. Michael Calise

    Thank you Dan for posting my letter and thank you all for responding to this discussion. I plan to print all these comments as an interim petition and present them to each committee member at tonight’s meeting. We are truly fortunate to have the technology we have to take discussions which were opened and closed at the shops, workplaces, and kitchen tables of our forefathers and instantly bring them into the public domain. We live in exciting times. But, when the gavel drops I stand with Charlie Haberstroh. I go to meetings feet on the ground hands and mind in the wind responding in instant time to the issues. Public attendance and interaction is a vivid reminder to our elected and appointed officials that they are not operating in a vacuum.
    Thank You again everyone.

  61. I attended tonight’s meeting (as likely did many of you). It seems to me the Committee is listening to the many comments made on issues such as (1) a circumferential walkway and (2) parking along the beach. There are positive elements in the plan as well: (1) a parking lot near the playground, (2) south beach bathrooms (BTW, no concession, just a open pavilion). The plan is still being developed and is by no means final. They certainly understand that there is a minimum of 3 Town bodies (P&Z, BofF and RTM) who will need to support any plan of action, so bulldozing will not get this done. I counted at least 6 RTM members there, so there is a focus being placed on this process and voices are being heard. Voices in person have a larger impact than those on websites/blogs.