No one knows when — or even if 😦 — Compo Beach will open this year.
But a key piece of summer fun edged closer to reality last night. The Planning & Zoning Commission — acting in its capacity to consider land use issues — voted unanimously in favor of a new concessionaire.
Upsilon Entertainment Group — the applicant chosen by the Parks & Recreation Department — would run the Compo food service that for over 30 years was operated by Joey Romeo. The Larchmont, New York-based company would also take over Romeo’s 2 other concessions: the Longshore golf course halfway house, and the concession by the pool.
Parks & Rec director Jen Fava describd the formal bid process. There were 36 downloads of the RFP. Eight businesses made site visits. Five submitted proposals. In addition to Upsilon’s, they came from Norwalk, Stratford, Woodbridge and Ryebrook, New York.
Fees to be paid to the town ranged from a low of $55,000 a year to a high of $100,000 or 10% of the gross revenue the first year, whichever is higher. The latter bid came from Upsilon.
Fava said that 3 groups were interviewed by a committee of representatives from the RTM, Parks & Rec Department, Parks & Rec Commission, and Department of Public Works.
They selected Upsilon for a variety of reasons. One was those highest fees (which top out at $120,000 a year or 12% of gross revenues, whichever is higher, in the final year of the 5-year contract). An opt-in clause covers 2 additional 5-year terms.
Fava said the committee was enthusiastic about Upsilon’s previous experience, which included operations at New York’s Bryant Park, Prospect Park and Hudson River Park.
The menu would include “typical beach food,” plus “healthier options like smoothies and salads.” They would offer special food nights, like Italian cuisine, and events like cheese tastings.
The company will use biodegradable packaging, and will compost materials. They committed to hire local staffs, and sell Connecticut-based products.
“They’re very professional,” the Parks & Rec director said. “They want to be partners with us, and involved in the community.”
Fava said that while many terms in the original contract were similar to those in the past, the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a rider. It covers uncertainty over starting dates for the beach, and addresses issues like partial openings.
The P&Z vote marked the first step toward town approval for Upsilon. Still ahead: the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen.