Compo Palm Tree: The Back Story

Last Friday, a palm tree mysteriously appeared at Compo Beach.

Magically, it seemed, the spit of land at the far end of South Beach — jutting into Ned Dimes Marina — looked less like Westport, and more like Miami.

Yesterday’s story generated plenty of comments. It must have been a prank by graduating Staples seniors, someone said. There were a few palm trees for sale at Southport Nursery opposite Garelick and Herbs, another added.

One view of the palm tree … (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

Here’s what happened.

Bernard Izzo Jr. — “Butchie” — of Izzo’s Landscaping has a contract with the town to plant trees around Westport.

In the early spring he planted a tree at that location. Unfortunately, it did not survive.

Butchie felt that replanting the same tree now would not work. It might not survive the heat.

He decided to plant — at his own expense — the palm tree for the summer. This fall, he’d replace it with an appropriate tree.

However, the lighthearted gesture did not have Parks and Recreation Department approval.

So if you haven’t seen it, you better hurry. It will be gone soon.

… and another. (Photo/Randy Christophersen)

55 responses to “Compo Palm Tree: The Back Story

  1. Barb Stephen

    Darn, am going to go sit there asap:)

  2. Jonathan Maddock

    This is great. They should leave it for the summer.

    This brings back a very early memory of mine. As a preschooler looking at Cockenoe from Compo beach, I imagined that the trees on the island were palms and coconuts. I had the notion that the island was tropical.

    Just so you know, I really don’t believe that anymore. Really.

  3. Andrew Colabella

    If Butch Izzo, a long time westport native and generous human being has a contract to plant trees around the town, did this out of his own pocket and heart, the tree should stay up until the end of the season.

    It’s the buzz of the beach, it’s attracting more people to Fairfield county’s number one main attaraction for fun in the sun.

    Keep the tree, it’s beautiful and unique and makes Compo stand out far more than any other beach.

    Whether it’s the commission or the parks & Rec department, I worked for the town for 9 years, I know more about this town than any person (but not including a couple of westport natives who really care and love this town) and the tree should stay.

  4. Carol Buffinton

    It should be left for the summer! I love it.

  5. Maura Cotter

    Please don’t remove the palm it’s so fun!!

  6. Joan Tricarico

    Love it!

  7. The photo showed that Palm Tree was planted by a professional. Parks and Recreation Dept really ought to chill as it’s temporary and bringing a lot of joy! Bernard Izzo Jr. — “Butchie” — of Izzo’s Landscaping must be a pretty great guy. I wish I still lived in the area as I definitely would hire him for our property.

  8. Bart Shuldman

    Leave it there. It’s not bothering anyone and it brings smiles to look at it.

    Parks and Red-give it a break. Find something more important to fix us on and let’s all enjoy the palm tree.

  9. Wanda Tedesco

    I think that is a great idea. Parks and Rec should get over it and have a little fun for the summer. So he didn’t get approval to make us smile. No harm done and he is going to replace it this fall.

  10. Bettina Gangi

    Oh come on, Parks and Rec people. Think how many smiles this has generated, not the least of them Russ’ and mine. Am sure Butch will replace this when the season changes…Tina Gangi

  11. Cathy Nazzaro Romano

    Parks & Rec. get a grip. It is a tree, good for the earth and everyone will enjoy it. Leave the tree!!

  12. Susan Iseman

    Wondering what happens to these palm trees after warm weather departs? Suppose like annuals we plant in spring & summer, they die off or get “recycled?”

  13. Bonnie Bradley

    Where’s the whimsy? Where’s the sense of fun & humor? Seems Butch Izzo is one of the few who gets it… It’s only a temporary installation after all.
    I’d congratulate Butch for his creativity and all the smiles it must bring to Westport. No harm done, guys. Sometimes, reading this blog, I definitely feel that Westport takes itself a tad too seriously. 😊 [Note my smiley emoji,
    It followed my “senior prank” comment earlier too]. Have a great day, Westport. Enjoy the beach.

  14. John Terpening

    Oh boy! We finally turned Westport into Gilligan’s Island!

    Let’s make a deal. Tree stays, geese go.

  15. Diana Zaslow

    Quite a few of us Westport folks have relocated to Southwest Florida (Bonita Springs /Naples). We call ourselves Westport South. These are the trees we see all the time.

  16. Michael Calise

    Thanks Butch!

  17. Butch Izzo has been in Westport longer than anyone on Parks & Recs…..with all Parks & Recs could improve on…..the tree is not one……it looks fabulous and let all enjoy it until Butch replants after the season. Really Parks & Rec?????

  18. Not something to stress over, but something to enjoy. Preserve the Palm!

  19. Scott Kuhner

    I remember Butchie from as far back as our days in Bedford Elementary School in the late fourties. He was always positive with an upbeat smile. This is another example of how much he loves Westport. Let the tree stay as it brings smiles to all the rest of us.

  20. Has there been any consideration on wrapping the tree during the winter months to preserve it .
    I’ve seen it done in Fairfield In the garden at the Carolton Nursing Home.
    This (our Palm Tree) would be our attraction. A monument from our fine & generous Mr. Izzo .
    Please consider this.

  21. Julie Fatherley

    This is a fun in the moment that makes life exciting. If, at his own expense,
    why not allow and have a good time enjoying something different in
    Westport? Julie Fatherley

  22. Jocelyn Barandiaran

    Another vote to keep the tree for the summer! It makes me smile. Thanks, Mr. Izzo!!

  23. Cute idea. Good publicity for Westport’ beaches. Good thinking on Mr. Izzo’s part. Since the heat of summer is probably the worst time of the year to plant a tree in the north. Give the Grinch of the year award to the parks and rec. commission.

  24. Audrey Doniger

    Parks and Rec…Why,oh why…

  25. Looks like a Queen Palm. This was my grandmother Kellogg’s view from Roosevelt Road and she would have loved it. Not sure if it can withstand the winter — but give it a try. I have a back yard full of them here in Naples, FL. Enjoy!

  26. Mary Cookman Schmerker '58

    Leave the Palm Tree. Look at all the interest and smiles it has generated. Thank you to the Izzo family and especially Butchie. Many current residents do not know of the long history the Izzo’s have in Westport and their many contributions that helped to make Westport what the newer residents enjoy today.

  27. Anastasia Freddino

    Keep the Palm!!!

  28. Rhonda Lieberson

    Some one should tell Parks N Deck to leave the Palm Tree until the Fall and thank Butchie for his creativity..!!!

  29. Louise W Demakis

    Only Bernie could have come up with that idea. Isn’t it wonderful? Please Parks & Rec, don’t touch.

  30. Dorothy Abrams

    How about “rallying ’round the” palm tree?

  31. Elizabeth Thibault

    Another vote for leaving the palm tree. Westport used to be a town with so many quirks, let this one stand and give some bit of uniqueness to an increasingly homogenized town!

  32. I 25th all of the “stay” comments. We are THERE every day….It belongs.

  33. Butch and his family are over the top Westport citizens. Thanks Butchie.

  34. Isabelle Breen, LCSW

    Perhaps a petition? Leave the tree! leave the tree!

  35. Talk to the palm Parks and Rec

  36. Jane Eason-Purdue

    Leave the palm tree — it looks great. With proper care and a little luck they CAN survive in these parts. Let’s go for it!

  37. Kathi Sherman

    Noticed by Kathi Sherman ……As of this morning it has an official name…..

  38. Charlie Haberstroh

    Since the tree is a replacement for a tree originally planted with Town authorization, we have decided to let the Palm tree stand. It will replaced by Butchie by contract in the fall. Enjoy!

  39. Great News ! If it’s not fun, why do it ?

  40. Sounds like the Palm Tree stays? Nice!!

  41. o, thank you, Charlie !

  42. Nancy Hunter

    Where will this tree be transplanted in the fall?

  43. Steven Izzo

    Bernie Izzo jr Making WESTPORT GREAT AGAIN

  44. Michelle Cardello

    We love the palm tree!

  45. What in heaven’s name could Parks and Recreation have to object to? He paid for it himself, it will be replaced in the Fall, and there was not only a good rationale for what happened, but a delightful whimsy that should appeal to beach goers!

  46. Kathy Calise

    I think its spectacular!!!!!

  47. Dave Feliciano

    Save the Palm! Where is the spirit of Westport. Whimsy is good. Let the youth circle the palm, play guitars and show that millennial can stand for something positive. Come on folks let the PALM LIVE FREE. I urge Jim Marpe to grant the Palm clemency and have the RTM unanimously endorse it in of unity.

  48. Dave Feliciano

    GOOD JOB. I would happily contribute towards a “green -house” for the Compo Beach Palm for the winter months.