Hey, DOT: Move Your Asphalt!

It’s been there so long — and we’re so intent on finding an illegal parking spot at Starbucks — that most Westporters seldom notice the asphalt mountain at the state Department of Transportation maintenance facility just behind Walgreen’s and the bank, across from the diner.

But alert “06880” reader Scott Smith spotted it 2 years ago. Yesterday morning, he looked again. The only thing that’s changed: It’s 2 years older. 

Scott writes:

I know that much of the old asphalt scraped off our roadways is recycled into new material to resurface roads. In fact, old asphalt is the most recycled material in the US. Maybe that’s the state’s plan for all this stuff – surely thousands of cubic yards of ground-up asphalt. If so, they’re taking their sweet time to use it.

One view of the asphalt, from Hillandale Road...

One view of the asphalt, from Hillandale Road…

So here’s my question for CT DOT, as well as our local and state elected officials: Is this the best use of such prime Westport real estate?

Seems to me this area could be better utilized for, say, parking school buses and getting them out of their current cramped lot downtown. Or maybe we could work out a deal to move our Parks & Rec maintenance facility from the center of Longshore to this area. (The vehicles and equipment at that rundown facility are used not at Longshore but other Parks & Rec properties around town.) With some screening, perhaps there’s enough room here for affordable housing, which is as much a state issue as a local one.

Our local tax dollars sent to Hartford far out-measure what Westporters get back in terms of state services. You’d think we would have a good case to make for a land swap or lease that would allow Westport to make better use of this property. And there doesn’t seem to be much of a NIMBY issue involved, as most any re-development of the site would be preferable to a mountain of asphalt sitting almost in the middle of town.

...and another. (Photos/Scott Smith)

…and another. (Photos/Scott Smith)

14 responses to “Hey, DOT: Move Your Asphalt!

  1. Affordable housing? Like apartments? Ha! The current generation of “westporters” would never let that happen. They don’t want kids coming from a household that makes less than 200k going to Staples and “polluting their children”. I was born in Norwalk hospital and spent my entire childhood in Westport from preschool at saugatauck to graduating Staples in 04. Back then you didn’t need to be a millionaire to live in westport. My parents were both immigrants who fled the Soviet Union in the early 80s. They arrived at JFK with $36 to start a new life. They went from a studio apartment in Brooklyn to a condo in Stamford but it was my dads dream to be an 06880er. He came from nothing and within 5 years of entering the US, he had enough money for a down payment on a house on deletta lane (behind Roy Rogers). I won’t say what stands in Roy Rogers place now so I can weed out the “new wave of westporters”. My parents both worked really hard and eventually sold the house on deletta and bought another house on pleasant valley, a 5 minute walk from Staples. My parents weren’t millionaires, they were just two extremely hard working people who wanted the best education for their kids. Sure I had my friends who’s parents were your typical millionaires but we loved our town and accepted everyone. We supported our local businesses. Arnies Place, Geigers, Remarkable Book Shop, Silvers; Coffee and donuts, Crossroads Ace, Max’s, Marios, etc. most of the above are gone now which makes me sick to my stomach. Late last year I came back for my 10 reunion and took a look around town. It was a town I didn’t recognize. The only solice I found was when I went to staples and saw some teachers who made an everlasting impact on my life and I have kept in touch with a decade after I accepted my hs diploma in a crowded humid fieldhouse. Other then that, the town I loved was pretty much gone. The new wave of Westporters will NEVER let that happen. That means that single moms who’s only dream is to send her kid to westport schools won’t have a chance. People opposed to affordable housing in Westport should be exiled. This is a town that belongs to all of us. It’s not some exclusive country club where you can exclude whoever you want.

    RIP to the Westport I miss.

    • Jack Whittle

      I grew up in Westport, and live here still, and I see absolutely no evidence to support your claim that Westporters ” don’t want kids coming from a household that makes less than 200k going to Staples and “polluting their children”.” Perhaps that’s a view you carry with you, but no one here espouses it or believes it.

      As for the Asphalt Pile, perhaps Toni Rubin or Jonathan Steinberg could make some noise in Hartford for us

    • Wendy Cusick

      Mike I understand how you feel. I do agree with some of your points. I’m from “across the border”…but I spent time and money in Westport and also worked on Main St (early 90’s) before the landlords sold to new people/developers/chain stores. Change is good and needed sometimes but I’ve noticed it has lost some of the “heartbeat” that you speak about.
      Roy Rogers is now a McDonald’s owned by a man from “across the border” who takes pride in his restaurant. The biggest change are the teardowns people want newer houses. Which is fine that’s their decision and some of the houses have oddities that would difficult to remodel. Also they own the property, they can do what they want to it. I just don’t agree with the developers arctitects/designers of the look of the new house and the price tag an affordable house of $500,000 to $800,000 is now $1 million to $4 million or higher!! That’s crazy!! I’ve noticed a variety of people have moved into Westport from various parts of the country (I say out of state plates dropping children off at school stops now they probably have CT plates) so their children can attend Westport school system. Some have stayed making Westport home which is great however, others move out when their children graduate meaning no permanent roots. I knew of a single mom who had to move out because she couldn’t afford the “affordable housing”.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Mike–I do not know if I should laugh at your comments, feel sorry for you or just be mad. The stereotype is ugly and I guess the hard work your parents displayed did not show you much. Your commits are bigoted in many ways and shows lack of understanding and just plain jealousy.

      Westport is a lovely place with hard working people who care very much for the town. Their success has led them to Westport to raise their children in surroundings that matter to them. You are right, times have changed, Just like when your parents lived in Westport, then times changed also. As you write, they bought and sold houses. So have others in Westport.

      You don’t know me or where I came from and how I got to where I am. Let me say, at 16 I was dropped off on a corner of a street and told to find a job. My success came from hard work, just like your parents. I didn’t ask for much, just a light at the end of a long tunnel. My hard work and long days and nights paid off. You should only know.

      As for affordable homes, Westport already meets the states requirements. Some legislature in Hartford made up a start date of 1990. This imaginery date causes us problems as we already have over 10% if we use a different date. Instead of ranting, why don’t you learn the facts and learn the impact to our wonderful town. The difficult impact to our senior citizens if we have to raise taxes if our schools get overcrowded. the impact to those that might not be able to afford much higher taxes. You know, the hard working residents that moved to Westport. Just like your dad.

  2. Wendy Crowther

    Scott…you and I are on the same page. I was thinking the exact same thing these last few weeks. I pass by the entrance to this site 2-4 times daily and have been staring into it thinking what a prime piece of territory it is. Like you, I also wondered whether the State might ever make a deal with Westport. Remember when CT State offered the adjacent, former State Police Barracks property to Westport years ago via a right of first refusal deal. Westport said, “No thanks.” It might have been a helpful piece of real estate now.

  3. Thanks, Wendy, and Dan, for starting this conversation. Jonathan is now on the Transportation Committee, so perhaps he has some levers to pull, with help from Toni across the aisle and chamber, and local direction from Jim Marpe and his team at Town Hall. We’ll see!
    I’m sorry to hear Mike’s lament in the first comment. As a “current generation” Westporter (and single father making a fraction of 200K), I applaud his parents’ efforts to live the American Dream but wholly disagree with Mike’s assessment of our town and we who live here. Perhaps on his next visit to Westport, he can meet some of my neighbors on my modest street, or drive through the new Hales Court neighborhood of subsidized housing, or see the similar project abuilding on the Post Road across from Goodwill, or drop by the homeless shelter that Jeff Weiser runs and that Westporters support so well, or visit the library, YMCA or school or town function where today’s Westporters connect with and accept one another…

  4. Matthew Mandell

    School bus parking. Can’t think of a better place. I asked the DOT head about this and the answer was no. I know he has been asked by many town heads and elected state officials, the answer is no. The state likes its land and they like their dump. Frustrating. Maybe we should apply the blight ordinance to them, since it is so fricken ugly.

  5. Channeling the spirit of certain non-second fiddle playing enviro-lawyers, let’s spread the asphalt out on Barons South and park the buses on it – you know, share?

  6. How about offering it up as an affordable/senior solution? Good place for an 8-30g.

  7. PS: Oh and Mike will you are certainly entitled to your point of view, I also disagree with you. Yes, it changes, and not all for the better, but there are trade offs and you must understand that living in Westport can be done for well under 200k and not crying poverty by any means. I can tell by the tone of you blog that you have not even read CT. SS 8-30g or you would not have the same opinion. No one is against affordable housing, but it can not decimate neighborhoods, traffic patterns and public safety. Oh…and you are a part of Westport…even with a differing opinion!

  8. Strange that this topic is considered new conversation when really it is the same broken record. Apparently, happiness is a choice.

  9. Well said I hope our state officials for once listen