Small Steps Lead To Big Beach Improvements

Remember the Compo Beach Site Improvement Plan?

Introduced in 2014, it would have included a new entrance, gatehouse, arrival court, main building, plaza area, extended boardwalk, long pedestrian pathway beginning at Owenoke, new marina buildings and promenade, fenced camp area and new camp building, new South Beach pavilion plus bathhouse and central activity lawn, planted dunes and berms, a pedestrian walkway on Soundview Drive, and Ferris wheels and roller coasters*.

It also would have eliminated perimeter parking along the beach, forced the relocation of the skate park, and cost approximately a squintillion dollars.

Part of the proposed plan showed new entranceways, an expanded boardwalk, and a parking area in the center of the beach.

Part of the proposed plan showed new entranceways, an expanded boardwalk, and a parking area in the center of the beach.

If you haven’t heard much about the plan in the past year, there’s a reason. Like elderly Eskimos put on ice floes to die, this one just sort of floated away, into the sunset.**

But one part of the plan — an element that most Westporters seemed to love — lives on.

The other day, the Board of Finance unanimously approved $97,000 to create an 8-foot-wide concrete walkway from the bathhouse to the cannons. The only effect on parking is to move spaces back 8 feet.

The bigger impact — an important one — will be to move walkers and joggers out of danger. Currently, they share that part of the parking lot with cars jockeying for spaces, and backing out.

A concrete walkway will be built between the parking lot and the sand, extending from the bathhouses to the cannons.

A concrete walkway will be built between the parking lot and the sand, extending from the bathhouses to the cannons.

Another $88,500 was approved to bring the 2 basketball courts up to regulation size. They’ll be repaved and painted; LED lights will be installed, and adjustable hoops will allow players of all ages to compete.

If the RTM approves both allocations, work could be completed by spring.

Now recreation officials can turn their attention to the next important phase of the Compo improvement: removing all Canada geese — and their poop — from the beach.

*Well, not Ferris wheels and roller coasters. But close.

** Which many folks were worried about no longer seeing from their cars, parked near the sand.


17 responses to “Small Steps Lead To Big Beach Improvements

  1. All good small initiatives while keeping the integrity of Compo intact. However, not a peep about South Beach bathrooms which had almost unanimous support from the public.

    • I had the same sentiments. Cannot believe a town that dedicates so many resources to so many things does not think that the two porta-potties that have been along the roadway on South Beach (not far from the hugely popular pickle ball courts) the past 5 or 6 years are even an acceptable temporary solution. Adding to the eyesore, they are not even the same color (I checked, not intentional to differentiate gender usage). Until there are bathrooms, they should carve a few bucks out of the $97K to at least put a stockade fence around them on three sides to reduce the construction site feel of the area and provide a bit of modesty shield for those that use it. A similar “rest stop’ tucked along the fairway of the 13th hole at Longshore has such a fence.

  2. 8 feet seems like it would eliminate the spots for the cars parallel parked on the side of the road opposite the beach. Is that so?

  3. Rebecca Ellsley

    I am for the board walk but very surprised they are making it out of concrete ( not very beachy and non- porous material) why not use the same trex material as board walk on other side to allow run off and drainage. Also $97,000 seems like a very nice budget! You should be able to get a boardwalk and a person to be able to power wash down the existing bathrooms daily for that amount.

    • In regards to the $97,000, Westport has no ordinance requiring competitive bidding. Do we know if there was competitive bidding for these projects? Do we know what the results of the bidding process were, if there was competitive bidding? It does seem like nice work, if you can get it.

  4. What happened to the absolutely new entrance to avoid the traffic congestion?

  5. Walkway to the cannons for how much ??? Plus moving the parking spaces back 8 ft. I guess there is no more parking along the grass median on that road, the beach will lose parking spaces that way and there WILL be traffic and hot headed residents on hot days.
    The proposed improvements; some are long needed , and a few that need more practical review.
    Spend the $ wisely please….

  6. Jens Buettner

    ** “Which many folks were worried about no longer seeing from their cars, parked near the sand”.
    Oh really! Everything comfortably out of the car. Maybe even with a running motor in winter because it’s cold outside or in the summer because it’s too warm outside.
    If people want to enjoy nature, they should be able to move their a** out of the car to enjoy the sunset on the beach.

  7. Alan phillips

    The walkway will be a wonderful addition and make compo more safe for walkers. We thank our government officials for the enhancements.

  8. ..yes, reconsider making the walkway wooden, for both esthetic and practical reasons…yes, bidding would be nice, too

  9. I agree with Rebecca and Stephanie, I can just see the skinned knees and the cracked heads now. Kids do not walk when they are at the beach. Make the walkways out of the same material as the other boardwalks. Also are the board I mean cement walks going to be level with the sand, or is there going to be a step up and down?

  10. Rebecca Ellsley

    Jens I agree that all people should be able to enjoy the beach as much as possible and being one with nature is amazing. But I do admit that times I have been with friends of mine with small children they seem to need to bring a TON amount of stuff to just come to the beach to enjoy nature. So moving parking further away will be hard for lots of people. But to get out and enjoy a nice safe walk around the beach will be wonderful for all. But the concrete board walk seems to contradict being green and environmentally friendly. Dan I am sorry to hear that our town seems to spend our money without consideration maybe they plan on winning powerball?

  11. The only way the parking on the beach side works with the parallel spots on the other side is to angle park on the beach side. Otherwise I suggest not parking on the parallel side unless your in the market for a new car or want an expensive repair bill for damage to the side of your car- There isn’t going to be enough room to safely pull in or out of the parking spots if the plan is to have straight-in vertical parking on the beach side!!!!

  12. Bathrooms!

  13. It is really nice to see that the some of the hard work the planners went to….. to create a vision for Compo’s future was not totally futile.There were more good ideas than bad….. and the plan seemingly got scrubbed for the one idea they could have eliminated,,, moving the parking along South Beach. Walkway to the cannons… excellent… maybe it is concrete so it will survive the next Hurricane?! Hopefully some day…. Walkway on South Beach!…. more sunsets viewed from that walkway! and it seems that would not have to move parking at all! Oh……..and no matter what it costs as a total……. as far as taxes go……. I’ll give up 10 Mocha Lattes from Starbucks a year and that will pay my share of taxes for that expenditure.I would rather pay the taxes than have the User Fees go up to cover the expense. Peace!

  14. Charlie Haberstroh

    This is the initial phase.

    We are planning for restrooms on the South Beach and other improvements.

    The trex material from the Pavilion to the cannons was projected to cost $1 mln – custom made. This walkway will cost less than $100k. Whatever is the walkway is made of it needs to be able to withstand Nor’easters.

    We will lose no parking. Just a start. Stay tuned.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chair, Parks and Rec. Commission