We use the term often. We use it casually. We use it without thinking.
“The character of Westport.”
We invoke our town’s “character” when discussing the impact of 2 proposed residential developments, with their state-mandated “affordable housing” units.
We mention our town’s “character” during debates about downtown redesign, plans for Baron’s South, the changes in Saugatuck.
We talk about it every time an old home is torn down, and a new one is erected.
This is not a new topic. Westport’s “character” was discussed in the 1950s, when hundreds of new homes — and many new shopping centers — sprung up on what was previously open space.
We talked about our “character” 20 years later, during debates on busing in Bridgeport students through Project Concern. We probably talked about it 100 years earlier, when factories began replacing farms, and 100 years before that, when we were split between patriots and Tories.
But — as an alert “06880” reader points out — what exactly do we mean by “character of the town”?
What is our town’s character? Who defines it? Does it change? If so, how do we acknowledge our town’s new character?
Those are just a few questions about Westport’s “town character.” I’m sure there are more. And I’m sure everyone has his or her own answers, explanations and insights.
We’d like to hear yours. Click “Comments” — and please, use your full, real name.