Got An Opinion About Downtown? You Can’t Say You Weren’t Asked.

Opinions are like you-know-whats: Everyone has them.

But now — instead of just keeping them to yourself, or venting on “06880” — you can make them count.

As part of the ongoing Downtown Master Plan, the town has developed an important survey. Westport residents are invited to answer a series of quick but probing questions about a wide range of downtown issues: Why you go there. What you like about it. What you don’t. What you’d like to see.

You get the idea.

Very few Westporters know about -- or have ever been on -- this pedestrian walkway, off Parker Harding Plaza. The downtown planning survey asks questions about a variety of uses for the entire area.

Very few Westporters know about — or have ever been on — the pedestrian walkway off Parker Harding Plaza. The downtown planning survey asks questions about various uses for the entire area.

The questions offer options. But there’s ample opportunity to add your own insights.

This is a genuine effort to solicit information. So instead of the usual (and easy) distribution method — online only — the survey can be taken 2 ways. In addition to online, paper copies (and drop boxes) will be available at Town Hall, the library and Senior Center.

Earthplace, the Playhouse, Wakeman Town Farm, Y’s Men, Y’s Women, PTAs, sports organizations, Rotary clubs — and many other groups — will be asked to send links to the survey to their members.

“We’re very cognizant that we need to hear from a wide range of Westporters,” says Melissa Kane, chair of the Downtown Steering Committee’s subcommittee on public outreach.

The survey is part of an excellent website, It includes FAQs about the master plan, and great photos showing the evolution of downtown from the 1880s to today. Particularly fascinating: The aerial view below, from 1949. It shows the backs of Main Street stores right on the river (Parker Harding Plaza was not yet built); the Taylor parking lot before landfill (for the library and Levitt Pavilion), and private residences all along Elm Street, where Brooks Corner and the Baldwin parking lot are today.

Downtown 1949 - before Parkekr Harding and other landfill

In the works: surveys for people who own businesses, work and shop in Westport. There will also be a public workshop and multi-day charrette.

The target date to complete the downtown master plan is September 2014.

(To take the survey, click here. To visit the website, click here.)

4 responses to “Got An Opinion About Downtown? You Can’t Say You Weren’t Asked.

  1. Dewey Loselle

    Dan – Many thank for helping to inform citizens about the Downtown Master Planning process that is on going. You are right this is everyone’s chance to weigh in. I encourage everyone in Westport to visit the website regularly to stay abreast of developments and important meetings. We are calling this planning process YOUR DOWNTOWN for a reason. We want to hear from as many of YOU as possible with regard to your preferences for downtown. What you like, what you don’t like, and what would make it better. As a first step please fill out the short online clicking above in Dan’s article or going to the Downtown Steering Committee website at This is your chance to help shape how YOUR DOWNTOWN evolves! .Also please note that we will be having a half day public workshop on the afternoon of Saturday June 7th
    at Bedford Middle School where we will be focusing and discussing with our consulting team people’s visual preferences for Downtown. Save the date and be sure to join us and bring your neighbors. Thanks and please take the survey before you move from this page!.

    Dewey Loselle
    Downtown Steering Committee

  2. Stacy Prince

    Wow. The survey asked how often I go downtown, where I live, how old I am and how many children I have at home. Not exactly the opportunity I was hoping for to weigh in on what I’d like to see happen in Westport.

  3. Isabelle Isafan

    I filled out the survey today b/c i saw the link on this blog. . All surveys collect the demographics of respondents. But it has many questions about what you use and would like to see, as well as narrative boxes for your thoughts and opinions as well. Don’t be dissuaded by the previous post.

  4. Stacy Prince

    Hello, Isabelle. I didn’t mean to dissuade anyone. I was just really bummed that, because I don’t use downtown now (and I would if they changed it), I didn’t have the same opportunities you did to give my opinion.