“Downtown Future” Forum Set

It’s a hot Westport topic, right alongside the future of Coleytown Middle School, bathrooms at South Beach, and ospreys.

“What’s up with downtown?” we ask.

We jabber about Main Street vacancies, online shopping, high rents and the new Norwalk mall.

We pine for the old mom-and-pop shops — or snort that those days are long gone.

Those were the days. Right?

The Coalition for Westport discusses that too. Members talk about attracting retailers like grocery and hardware stores, book shops and pharmacies; about 2nd-floor apartments; about a movie theater, cafes and other attractions that draw nighttime crowds.

To get a discussion going, the Coalition is sponsoring a forum. “Let’s Talk About Downtown and the  Future of Main Street” is set for next Monday (May 13, 7 p.m., 24 Elm Street — in Bedford Square, next to HSBC Bank 56 Church Lane, the Visual Brand office).

Panelists include Joseph McGee, Business Council of Fairfield County vice president for public policy and programs; David Kooris, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and a representative of the downtown business community.

All Westporters — and stakeholders — are invited.

The event is free.

So is the parking.

12 responses to ““Downtown Future” Forum Set

  1. Denise Torve

    Thanks for the post! The sandwich bites are also free thanks to the generosity of Rye Ridge Deli. One change is that the forum is taking place at 56 Church Lane – The Visual Brand the office.

  2. Michael Nayor

    It’s important to note that also participating in this event is our own Downtown Merchants’ Association’s President Randy Herbertson. This is bound to be an eye-opening session with both local and outside perspectives of the ailments of retailing currently plaguing many municipalities.

  3. Ann Chernow

    Dear Dan, Is there a contact number or email for the Coalition? Best, Ann >

  4. Landlords–we want to see our beautiful downtown Westport thrive:
    the street is beautiful, but the landlords need to look at the rent prices: is this a factor? I believe so, If, the shops continue to close, downtown Westport will become a phantom!

  5. DeniseTorve

    Our brand new web site –
    CoalitionforWestport.org – contains much information and the Coalition can be contacted via – info@coalitionforwestport.org or via the web site.

  6. Michael Calise

    Imagine a place with a YMCA, Three Hardware Stores,Three Grocery Stores, Three Liquor Stores, Two Drug Stores, A Stationary store with a print shop, Camera Department, Book and Record Department and an office supply department, A Five & dime Store with a soda fountain, a Gas Station, A tobacco Shop. Two Tailors, An honest to goodness book store, A Department Store, A Frame Shop, A Land Surveyor, A Window Store and for good measure A radio station as well as a few Banks and an abundance of clothing and shoe stores, Professional offices, service businesses, restaurants and lunch counters. That was Westport Center in the 1960’s. It’s time to realize that Post Road West and East are the new Downtown of an expanding community and stop fantasizing over a past which no longer exists. Relax stop complaining appreciate and enjoy Westport Center for what it has become!

    • Dermot Meuchner

      This attitude is exactly the reason why I want to leave this town. It’s arrogant and rebuke to the people who want to see something positive happen for once. The landlords are greed personified and it will eventually take its toll.

    • Arline Gertzoff

      Thanks Mike for telling it like it is.We cannot go backwards and fewer and fewer of us knew that Westport. I loved those 5cent cokes at Ben Franklin . Wait until the Norwalk Mall opens.I shop and go all over to keep it going.I find all these grandiose downtown plans somewhat amusing .

  7. B. Franklin

    And we gave it all away to Ivy League educated know nothings as it relates to local commerce, local service and local business to do what – attract corporations that paid higher rents to landlords and now leave our town because the new shinny penny is online services and shopping. Landlords, lower rents, and market to local businesses who will gladly rent your space and create a Westport renaissance. Our future depends on it.

  8. David J. Loffredo

    I love when “old” Westport bemoans the changes and attributes them to “new” Westport. I lived here in the 60’s and 70’s and then moved back in 2000, so I’m a bit of both.

    What I know, though, is that when you sift through the commercial real estate transactions up and down Main Street and up and down the Post Road – it was “old” Westport who owned all the stores and owned all the land – and they cashed out and either hit the road, or now return to wax nostalgic about the “good old days” they each hasted towards its demise.

    No one forced the sale of the Red Barn, or all the little Main Street shops that are now mall-ified, or the huge swaths of land on the Post Road that are quickly becoming massive residential complexes. You did it, you own it. At least you were paid handsomely for it.

  9. Mike Garrity

    Westport little boy to his mother, ” that For Lease store must be popular, it’s everywhere.”

  10. Robin Massa

    I’m your local pharmacist..accessible at all times!
    Shoreline Pharmacy!
    not like CVX! or whatever
    I’m working for you. Caring for you.