About Those Beach Bathrooms…

It’s mid-March, which means one of 2 things:

  • Beach season is close at hand.
  • We’re due for a blizzard.

We’ll choose the beach. Which makes it a good time to post an email from an alert — and forward-looking — “06880” reader. She writes:

I don’t want to change the way the beach looks. But FIX THE BATHROOMS!

We need faucets with handles you can turn on or off. The push-down ones from 30 years ago are difficult for an aging person with arthritis, or anyone who wants to just wash their hands.

One reader thinks Compo Beach could be a lot more welcoming.

One reader thinks Compo Beach could be a lot more welcoming.

We also need easier-to-use toilet paper holders, with rolls that roll well.

The sinks should be lower, for small kids to use easily. Now they need a parent or caretaker to lift them up.

It’s ridiculous how disgraceful those restrooms are.

But wait! There’s more! Our reader is just getting started:

Add Adirondack-style chairs, in natural wood. Darien’s Weed Beach and Pear Tree Point have them.

Benches are nice. But an "06880" reader would like somoe Adirondack chairs at Compo too. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Benches are nice. But an “06880” reader would like Adirondack chairs at Compo too. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Build a few more shade pergolas or gazebos. Put one near the corner of the marina and kayak launch, and one in the middle of South Beach.

New picnic tables would be nice. Or have Parks and Rec fully sand the existing ones, to remove rough spots and splinters.

Also, bring in some more soft sand. Or use machines to remove so many rocks.

Nicer sand would be nice at Compo, one reader says.

Nicer sand would be nice at Compo, one reader says.

Our “06880” reader concludes:

If you post this on your blog, I’m sure you’ll get some comments.

I’m sure too! Just click “Comments” to add your thoughts.

And do it today. Beach season is just around the corner.

Or a blizzard.

39 responses to “About Those Beach Bathrooms…

  1. we need more trees…..for beauty and shade.

  2. Wanda Tedesco

    All those points regarding the beach are excellent ones. Especially the restrooms. The chairs would be nice but we don’t really need them.

  3. Totally agree with all the suggested improvements to the beach, especially the sand quality and rocks. Let’s get those painful rocks out of here, and have a quality beach.

  4. Bill Blaufuss

    Don’t forget Burying Hill. Would it be too much to ask that the picnic tables be leveled? They have never been in our 34 years of going there. How about the rocks? The geology of BH I suppose is naturally rocky, but can’t some rocks be removed?

  5. South Beach has come a LONG way since we were kids Dan! Not to mention the water quality that the “Save the Sound” project drastically improved

  6. Wendy McKeon

    How blessed we are to live in a town with a beach…and though there is “room for improvement”, I believe we need to start with the “basics” …The bathrooms are not good!!!!! I have lived here for 25 years and really can’t recall any major improvements to the restrooms….I do totally agree with the suggestion of “sand improvement” … but before trees & benches – let’s fix the bathrooms!!!

  7. Elizabeth Thibault

    I was under the impression that Compo wasn’t naturally as sandy as it is, and that in the last 75 years, it’s been supplemented by dumptrucks of sand imported for the purpose?

  8. Michael Nayor

    Burying Hill has been the stepchild of Westport for a generation. The jetty has been in disrepair for several years with a warning sign not to walk on it. There are wooden walls that are falling apart. At least the biggest rocks and boulders should be cleared from the beach. Instead, year after year the beach becomes less well maintained.

    Years ago many families with small children were seen there daily. Now it is used far less frequently primarily because it is so uninviting.

  9. Michael Calise

    Remember last year when Staples students took it upon themselves to paint the beach lockers because they had been neglected for so long. McCarthy should have resigned in embarrassment at that instant. But arrogance knows no boundaries. continuous neglect is a direct path to throw out the old and build the new. we’ve been there I trust we will not be going back.

  10. Michelle Benner

    I love this list of common sense improvements, especially for the bathrooms and those sink faucets! 🙂

  11. Lisa Mannis (lifetime resident)

    How typical of the new Westport – “get rid of the rocks”
    I have an idea – leave the beach alone!

    • Wendy Powers

      Thank you, Lisa! I agree. When I come back to visit it is distressing to me to see how the ‘new Westport’ has changed things into Beverly Hills East. I loved Compo just the way it was and spent many hours there for years. as the saying goes ‘If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!’! – Wendy – Staples Grad of ’69

  12. I vote for the Kimberly Clark toilet paper dispensers that dispense one sheet at a time – similar to a folded paper towel dispenser! Let’s get this one done! The floor and fixtures aretruly disgusting.

  13. Two weeks ago, at a Board of Finance budget hearing, the First Selectman announced that his administration is now “Citizen-Centric” (apparently “Leadership Matters” has been retired). I have no idea what this new term means to him or, more importantly, to us. But if it means anything like what it does to the City of Palo Alto, California – which seems to have first coined the phrase – one could infer some kind of heightened accountability to residents. With this in mind, I suggest that anyone pressing for better conditions at Compo Beach consider using the term “citizen-centric” as many times as you can without sounding like a possible serial killer.

  14. Well done! Most of these ideas are simple and inexpensive. Must be so low on the list because they are basic and do not need commissions and meetings to resolve. Why have the bathroom issues persisted for so long? Whoever manages the beach should be proposing them and having maintenace staff take care many on a routine basis. Wonder how long it would take for a replacement in the private sector?

  15. Couldn’t the tractor that does the beach grooming, just get a basket that collect the bigger rocks helping the beach be more sandy. I know something like this exists

  16. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    Patience all, soon as the blizzard threat is by, those of us that frequent the beach early in the AM parking at the beach edge, will soon see Joe Saviano and the Rec crew raking the beach in the beach version of the Ice rink Zamboni. Rocks raked, seaweed swept and then sand redistributed by contractors. All well scripted each year and well executed by our great crews at Parks and Rec.
    And how great it is to see NO ONE asking or suggesting a new 2 million dollar bath house or new million dollar pavilion or 2 million dollar marina building. Compo, as well as Longshore, Buryin Hill, and all of our beaches and Parks are beautiful open spaces we must protect and tend to as treasures they are.

    • Apparently Chip hasn’t been to Burying Hill in very long time.

      • Chip Stephens - Staples 73

        Au Cointreau mon ami,
        Many who frequent Burying Hill or Old Mill, like myself, enjoy the basic beach, limited access and rushing stream whilst watching the crowds across the moat at Sherwood

        • Then I know we are in good hands and that you will use your influence to have the existing hazardous conditions repaired.

        • I love Burying Hill too. Only thing I’d fix is that old rusty chain link fence ruining the view from the picnic area at the top of the hill.

        • Nancy Hunter Wilson

          “au Cointreau” — catchy!

  17. As with most things; you can get it, if you will pay for it. It is budget season. Go make your voices heard. Of course, there may be some unspoken limit with respect to spending, and you may want to displace some other person’s favorite project, but speak up in a forum where your voice might matter.

    BTW the rocks are not going anywhere.

  18. don l bergmann

    Our new Parks & Rec. Director, Jennifer Fava, has impressed me with her commitment to our park spaces, which of course includes our beaches. My quick list: (i) general maintenance, (ii) trees and greenery, (iii) Burying Hill, (iv) wood, wherever possible, (v) rocks and sand, (vi) slowing down cyclists and (vii) all of us picking up garbage.. Don Bergmann

  19. Grayson Braun

    An open letter to all of the rock haters:

    I had the good fortune to serve on a Town Commission with an archaeologist. Most of what she said regarding her area of study went right over my head but I do remember her talking about how 20,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years, a glacier covered a large portion of the Continent. When it retreated it created the Long Island Sound and left behind these poor and obviously unloved rocks, which, by the way are the reason Connecticut is graced with so many beautiful stone walls.

    There are real problems in this world…having a rocky beach is not one of them.

  20. Personally, I would like 1) A beach ranger assigned specifically to the task of shooing the seagulls away from my grill and table; 2) Not just smooth sand, but big sand dunes (they have them in the Hamptons!) 3) a special section of the beach where everyone is required to be beautiful (like in South Beach.)

    • I just snort-laughed. Thank you for a good guffaw!

    • Wendy Powers

      Oh, you must be talking about Santa Monica and Malibu Beaches with the glitzy beach clubs and private cabanas where everyone is beautiful all of the time . . and if they aren’t they have their plastic surgeons on call!

  21. I’ve been going to Compo and Longshore since I was 2-1/2. The bathrooms have always been…well, like beach bathrooms. It’s hard to keep bathrooms looking those in a 4-star hotel when you have armies of sand-encrusted little kids using them.

  22. Good common sense improvements that won’t cost the town a boatload of money. Compo has been a part of my life all my life! Born and raised we love it the way it is with just a bit of upgrades – the walkway around the marina last year is gorgeous and the new rip wrap stone in marina! Nicer bathrooms – benches – picnic tables would be perfect!

  23. Connie Bentely

    Back in the day, when beach season arrived, we’d all take off our shoes and compete to see who could toughen up their feet the fastest so that we didn’t wince at every step on our beloved rocky beach. It was part of the Spring/Summer ritual. Compo Beach today is, well, a day at the beach by comparison.

  24. MaryAnn Meyer

    Burying Hill Beach needs a major overhaul. Let’s start with replenishing the sand and making an effort to provide a beach area with less rocks.
    Perhaps Compo could share some of the sand they receive each year with its little sister! Now everyone play nicely in the sand box!

    • Lindsay Garakelian

      Hello all
      My understanding is the beaches do not receive nor replenish sand. The waves move it to one end of the beach and the town piles it up and redistributes it. You can’t control nature, only work within its limits.

      As for the third world bathrooms, I agree they need to be renovated and improved. It’s embarrassing to bring guests there. The history of neglect to such a vital amenity is mind blowing.

  25. How about the “sand wheelchair”? It is pretty bad,. I think they need to put in a couple of boardwalks that go down to the water. Its very difficult to get the beach owned wheelchair thru the sand. There is only one of them, so you cant keep it near. I have a scooter, but it won’t go in the sand

    • Wendy Ahrensdorf Powers

      If you feel that people with disabilities have a very difficult time getting to the water over the sand you could contact the Parks and Recreation Department in Westport and ask them what it would take to put in some kind of boardwalk down to the water for the disabled in wheelchairs or have difficulty walking. There are a lot of disability agencies in the United States. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) http://www.aapd.com/ is increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

      It has been my experience that if you want to get anything done you need to seek out the proper agencies that can help you and do whatever it is that you need to do get it done. Action always speaks a lot louder than words. >^..^<

  26. Wendy Powers

    “Connecticut Geology Illustrated → What to Observe”

    “Water waves and currents continually change the shape of Connecticut’s shoreline. Water beats upon the shore, in some places carrying away loose materials and gradually wearing down glacial debris and bedrock. In other places water sweeps loose materials in the direction of its flow and deposits them elsewhere in a variety of patterns. Some of the sediments are eroded shoreline rock or shells; other sediments originated farther inland, were carried by coastal rivers and eventually dumped near the rivers’ mouths. Some inland sediments are from glacially transported rock and have a composition that is different from the local bedrock sediments.

    What a CT Beach is Made of : Beaches can consist of shells, sand, or gravel. Winter beaches may be steeper and tend to be made of coarser particles. Beaches can change with the seasons because more erosion occurs in the winter when winds are stronger.”

    http://www.wesleyan.edu/ctgeology/CTGeologyIllustrated/beaches.html

    So, bottom line – the rocks and pebbles and gritty sand are geologically the way the coastal beaches always have been and always will be.

  27. Wendy Ahrensdorf Powers

    F.Y.I. – No Animals Allowed on Beaches from April 1 – Sept. 30
    Effective April 1, animals will not be permitted at Compo, Old Mill, and Burying Hill Beaches. Animals in or out of vehicles will not be allowed on any beach property which includes all grass, sand, and parking areas, except Soundview parking lot at Compo Beach, as well as the roads within the beach area.
    http://www.westportct.gov/

  28. Wendy Ahrensdorf Powers

    MORE F. Y. I.
    Animals at the Beaches and Town Property

    Westport Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Fava wants to remind citizens that as warmer weather approaches, there are some regulations to be aware of. As of April 1, no animals are allowed at Compo, Old Mill, or Burying Hill beaches, in or out of vehicles. This regulation is in effect until October 1. Parking emblems will be required on all vehicles entering town beaches beginning Sunday, May 1. “We are all looking forward to beautiful beach weather, and the summer will be here before you know it,” said Fava.

    For the safety and well-being of our field users, Ms. Fava asks for assistance from the public to help keep our fields in good playing condition by keeping animals off of our ball fields year round. In addition, dog owners are welcome to walk their dogs on the perimeter of the Longshore Golf Course, which opened on March 18, however no animals are allowed onto the course at any time of the year.

    Ms. Fava also states, “Although we have regulations in place for animals at the beach during the warmer months, we love our furry friends, and welcome dogs at Winslow Park year round.” Winslow Park is located at Compo Road North and Post Road East, and has posted on-leash and off-leash areas.

    Jumping for Joy

    Spring and Summer Program Registration has begun!

    Program registration for spring and summer programs is available online, Walk-in, fax, and mailed registration is also available at the Parks and Recreation Sale Office at Longshore during regular business hours.

    We are excited to offer a wide variety of programs for children and adults. Enjoy your spring days with tennis lessons and little sports squirts at Compo Beach. When school is out for the summer, join our day camps, swimming lessons, or try a new sport camp! Our programs are a great way to spend your summer outdoors with friends. New this year is Pickleball and Platform Tennis lessons for all ages. Don’t miss out on the fun!

    We hope that you come, participate and have FUN! Happiness happens here!