Welcome To Saugatuck?

Saugatuck’s renaissance has breathed new life into an old neighborhood.

But to enjoy it — coming off I-95 Exit 17 — you first have to drive past this:

Joanne Romano 3

And this:

Joanne Romano 2

And this:

(Photos/Joanne Romano)

(Photos/Joanne Romano)

The abandoned buildings — Blu Parrot and TD Bank — hardly provide a great first impression of the area.

Westport has a blight ordinance — plus a blight prevention board and blight officer.

It applies to commercial property, as well as residences.

Enough said.

24 responses to “Welcome To Saugatuck?

  1. Don’t forget the panhandlers that are on both exits almost daily.

  2. Hmmmmmm. This area REALLY needs a small grocery store, especially since there is no more Peters.

  3. Yes, these are a sad sight, but it could be worse. The bank I have been told will continue to be a bank. No one wants to lose a drive through they have zoned in. A bank is needed in the area.

    But would you rather have a McDonalds or Pizza hut type off the highway retail there? That was on the table at one point, but a good discussion was had with the owner and a number of Westport folks to dissuade him from following that course.

    There are plans in P&Z for a modification to the building for a new restaurant. But it is has not been followed up with hearings at this point. So we wait and we watch. It could be they are now waiting to be part of the RR Place reconstruction which is still in discussion.

    In the mean time let’s celebrate Saugatuck with THE SLICE OF SAUGATUCK FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 12th. Come on down to one of the best festivals in town. Noon – 3pm, then a concert in the park from 3-7pm

  4. Is someone trying to consolidate properties so they can build this:


  5. As to a grocery, exactly right, totally needed. Discussions were had with Peter’s Bridge and Tarry Lodge, but nothing came of it.

  6. James,
    That was one concept for RR Place. It actually is not a consolidation, they own almost everything in the rectangle except Marios (now Harvest) and the big building on Charles and Franklin. The owners are one family now 2 generations down so there is a lot of needs and discussions. Many concepts have been floated.

    Something is coming, and one thing I will work to preserve is the streetscape of RR Place. That is old time Westport. I have seen an 1880s photo of a raised wooden walkway, just like the old west. Amazing things can be done behind those buildings, while keeping them intact and reused.

  7. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    This is what happens when the Nistico, Sacco and DeMace families exit the restaurant business.

  8. The old TD Bank property is now owned by Patriot National Bank. The transfer was in the spring (check westportnow)

  9. Sherri Wolfgang-Peyser

    How about a small office building for ad agencies or graphic design studios… Perfect for creative people that need to get to the city and have NYC clients.

  10. Love all of the great restaurants and merchants in our Saugatuck, but we could use more neighborhood retail/services like a grocery and the lot has some parking too! It’s a nice location in between East Norwalk and downtown Westport and for those of us who live here, less driving. I think that it would connect the Saugatuck center to the RR merchants, commuters and neighbors.

    • And let’s not forget about some of the occupied commercial buildings closer to the train station that could use a facelift – Minute Men Cleaners, the old Post Office building, #616( not occupied as far as I can tell) and several of the other buildings on that side of I-95. The whole area down there on both sides of the road grecould use a facelift for sure!!

      • Maybe a little urban planning is needed for The Saugatuck of the future!
        The area could have a river village feel with the edginess with the RR architecture.

    • Great idea!

  11. Missy Targowski

    It’s atrocious! I can’t believe it looks so bad…responsible parties should be hounded daily to get it at least minimally mowed.

  12. The town should exercise eminent domain and build much needed extra RR parking there, so that people do not have to use the parking across near the highway and risk their lives crossing that busy street at night. Plus, the distance to that across-the-highway parking makes the morning trek too long in combination with the already lengthening commute to the city.

  13. there is nothing wrong with one holding onto a property for future endeavors however, there is problem with causing blight and leaving a piece of property to become overgrown and causing a health hazard with potential rodents etc. not to mention the eyesore welcoming people to Saugatuck!!! Disgusting!!

    • Exactly right, Joanne. The owner(s) of record should receive a friendly telephone call from the Town of Westport that strongly encourages them to send their grounds crews to these neglected sites. It’s not a big ask to show a little respect for the community.

  14. Good point, Dan. I seem to remember the same party bought both properties. If you mentioned their name in the piece and emailed it to them, you’d probably get some action.

    Funny that someone interested in renting out these vacant properties wouldn’t want them to look nice. But then again, next door in Norwalk it’s the rule for vacant commercial properties to be derelict — don’t know why. E.g. the long -abandoned Mobil station next door to Aitoro’s and the TWO defunct HSBC branches discarded within just a couple of years of their grand openings.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      In my home town, it’s usually a case where the landlord can’t do something with the existing property and so they attempt to force a way around local rules (demolition) via neglect. I don’t think that’s entirely the case here, as the owner really put a lot of time and money into trying to make a go of the Blue Parrot.

  15. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Let’s see…..South Norwalk wasn’t good enough for the yuppies, they had to rename it SoNo. Sherwood Square wasn’t either, they had to rename it Sconset Square. So what’s next? Take Saugatuck and rename it Stuck? It has lost its Seoul.

  16. i was somewhat happy this morning to see that some of the overgrowth has been tackled. Lots more to go. Other towns hand out fines. I just hate to see the area where my dad and all of my family grew up in left to fall to pieces. Riverside Ave and other areas are up and coming. Charles Street should be included!!!

    • Joanne, it is nice to see that your photos combined with Dan’s story got someone to address some of this. But, having read the Blight ordinance that was linked in the story, it didn’t appear to me that what you photographed rose to the level of what the town of Westport could deem a “blight” and take action against. So I’m not sure there’s anything the town could have done here. But, your publicizing this has apparently generated positive results–and that’s what counts! (And just in time for te upcoming Slice of Saugatuck Fest.)

      • The blight laws should include fines. If they don’t Someone should look into putting th

        • Actually Fred, there are clauses but they have to be enforced

          D. It is determined by the Blight Enforcement Officer, the Building Official or by the Director of the Health District that the condition of the building, structure or parcel of land poses a serious or immediate danger to the safety, health or general welfare of the community

          • • • • • •
          • • •
          It is not being adequately maintained. The following factors may be considered in determining whether it is not being adequately maintained
          multiple missing, broken or boarded windows or doors collapsing or missing walls, roof or floors
          seriously damaged or missing siding
          a structurally faulty foundation
          excessive amounts of garbage or trash
          abandoned or unregistered motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats and motor cycles, or other inoperable machinery on the premises
          rodent harborage and/or infestation
          unrepaired fire or water damage
          parking lots left in a state of disrepair or abandonment.

          Add fines and enforcement is sure to be a success!