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Unsung Hero #174

Bob Weingarten nominates Carol Leahy as this week’s Unsung Hero. He writes:

For 22 years Carol Leahy has served Westport. She started as a part-time employee in the selectman’s office, then in 1990 was named full-time Historic District Commission administrator and certified local government coordinator. She retired in 2018.

Prior to those posts, she was active in the League of Women Voters, including board service of for a number of years.

In her role as Historic District Administrator, she helped countless Westport homeowners understand preservation issues for their homes.

Carol Leahy

She obtained funding for preservation projects from the state. She also assisted the Historic District Commission by setting up agendas for monthly meetings, notifying homeowners, providing town reference material and documenting meetings for public review.

Leahy created the annual preservation award program, which recognizes owners of residential and commercial properties who demonstrate outstanding efforts to protect the historic character of exterior structures. She helped the HDC with the awards presentation, preparation of award narratives, and the annual display of house award photographs.

Among her many achievements, she helped restore the Minute Man Memorial.

Leahy is a lifetime Connecticut resident. She moved to Westport in 1972 and raised her 2 children, Wendy and Michael, here.

After she retired, HDC members decided to fund a Westport Museum for History & Culture plaque to honor her contribution to the town. The ceremony was held recently via Zoom.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says Leahy “played a critical role in organizing and structuring the work of the Historic District Commission. Her knowledge and understanding of the grant funding and historic designation opportunities made her the go-to person for Westport residents looking for support in designating historic properties. Her positive and professional demeanor created a calming presence in all her Town Hall interactions.”

Last year, Leahy received the Janet Jainschcigg Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. At the ceremony, State Senator Tony Hwang said Leahy “made history come alive, working with both developers and owners of historic properties.”

(Do you know an unsung hero? Email nominations: dwoog@optonline.net)

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