Down By The Riverside

The Saugatuck River is a Westport jewel.

But unless you belong to the Saugatuck Rowing Club, rent a kayak or paddleboard at DownUnder or live on the water, your direct access is limited to a few public parks.

There’s one named for Grace Salmon on Imperial Avenue. Another for Gene Pasacreta is on Riverside.

One of the least known — and least maintained — is also on Riverside, just north of the merge with Saugatuck Avenue (right beyond the VFW, before the houses and commercial buildings).

A view of the Saugatuck River, from the Riverside Avenue park.

It’s been designated as open space, with activities limited to walking and viewing. This morning, members of the Parks Advisory Committee toured the property. They saw the beautiful view of the river, which right now hardly anyone knows about.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay was there too.

If he works the same magic on this pocket park as he did on the Wadsworth Arboretum across town, Westporters will have one more connection to the Saugatuck River.

And many more opportunities to enjoy it.

18 responses to “Down By The Riverside

  1. Wendy Crowther

    Itś about time…again!! I began trying to get the town to do something about this great town-owned parcel of open space since I served on the Parks & Recreation Commission (PRC) from 2000-2008. The Town never wanted to devote any resources to this spot, nor to many other great, passive-use, open spaces in town. Many continue to languish and deteriorate. During my stint on the PRC, I was able to advocate for a landscape consultant (who was paid) to visit our passive-use open spaces. Many good ideas were floated to the Parks & Rec. Department, however none were pursued. I hope things will be different this time but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. I used to live at 573 Imperial Avenue in the 1930’s with my brothers Paul and Phil and my sister, Anita, and my mother, Hilda. The town assessor tells me that address is now two parcels, 184 on the corner of Wakeman Place and 186, one lot towards Bridge Street. We used to walk up Wakeman Place to the Saugatuck River and dive off what we called White Rock. Does anyone know if there is still a White Rock there?

  3. I’m not going to hold my breath. Most of our passive use parks are in such a state of decay that it looks like a choice.

  4. Request for anonymity granted

    Dan, Big fan, love all of your posts Would you be so kind as to educate us as to the Aquarian watering schedule. We had a sign put in our yard as violators Why? Drought? Fines for violating? We have read the Aquarian website and it answered no questions. Much appreciated.
    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Aquarion water rules are here: Google “Aquarion Water restrictions westport ct”

  6. Great shot. Keep it prestine

  7. Robbie Guimond

    All three of our girls have spent time at a very young age at that spot, we hope they keep it natural and clean, In a way its perfect as is.

  8. Dan- don’t forget Eloise Ray Park, which is also on Riverside. If you want to get involved, get off the couch and do something. Talk is cheap, these little parks can use neighborhood involvement. Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum was a neglected parcel of land, just like Riverside. Go to Stonybrook and Woodside and see for yourself what’s been done. LWA is 11 acres before you enter Earthplace. Bruce Lindsay and Jen Fava will do the same here with the support of the Tree Board, Parks Advisory Committee and neighbors. Get involved!

    • Morley Boyd

      Good point, Lou. And you have moved mountains at LWA. It’s amazing.
      BTW, I tried to get involved to help address the challenges in Winslow.
      The Parks Advisory Committee made us feel as welcome as a Walmart.

      • David Floyd

        Morley, I’m sorry you felt that way. The PAC openly heard your concerns about your problem and never meant for you to feel unwelcome.

        • Morley Boyd

          David, the concerns we raised about invasives, erosion, sensitive wildlife nesting areas and other issues were not “my problem”. They represent a challenge to all of us. I’m just sorry you elected to ignore our offer of assistance – as well as all our followup emails.

    • Tina Torraco

      Thanks Lou for the mention of Eloise Ray Park here on Riverside. It’s for public consumption and a visual open space right here close to downtown ! Our neighborhoods enjoy its existence . A real treasure to have these open spaces in Westport .

  9. Jack Whittle

    Actually, the Public has a right to access to the Saugatuck River (and designated parking) in a number of areas along the River, starting with Lees Pond (required access via the YMCA property) and then via those commercial development projects undertaken since 2013 along the River as required by Zoning Regulation Section 31-10.7.4 – The Medical Office Complex at 321-329 Riverside is one example.

  10. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

    We are so fortunate to have this river running through our town. It is upon us to preserve it. Making places of peace along its banks, or parks to enjoy are worthwhile investments. The river, with its salt marshes, wildlife, and opportunities for water activity such as rowing, kayaking and paddle boarding, is indeed a treasure!