Pete Romano is a well-known — and much-admired — Westporter.
He’s one of the prime movers behind the redevelopment of Saugatuck Center (and a co-owner of the beloved Saugatuck Sweets shop). For many years he was a leading volunteer with Festival Italiano. Pete knows how important it is to build — and sustain — a community.
He’s also a principal with Saugatuck-based LandTech, one of the area’s leading environmental and engineering firms.
Recently, Pete attended a conference on “Cities of Tomorrow.” In between heavy-duty panels of mayors, economic directors and futurists, there were 10-minute vignettes of imaginative, fun and very cool ideas.
Pete was particularly taken by a guy who took an abandoned city block out west. He developed it fully, placing businesses in abandoned store fronts, painting crosswalks and bike lanes, putting up planters with trees, creating sidewalk cafes and the like.
Here’s the kicker: He did not have permission to do anything. No permits, no licenses — nothing.
All he had were a few buddies, and a huge pair of you-know-whats.
He told the conference: “You can do anything, as long as you wear a hard hat and fluorescent vest.”
I am not advocating that anyone do this in Westport, mind you.
And if anyone does, please don’t mention where you got the idea.