Last week’s Photo Challenge showed a close-up of a bit of the Compo Beach playground. It was kind of obvious, even though I cropped Patricia McMahon’s image as closely as I could. (Click here to see.)
But leave it to Rick Benson — who has forgotten more about Westport than I’ve ever known — to provide the back story:
This is a wheel from the original playground, taken down in April 1989 to make room for the first Robert Leathers Community Built playground.
When that wore out and the current one was built, this was relocated again to the “new playground.”
The “original playground” Rick refers to was actually just a monkey bar, swing set and whirligig adjacent to the basketball courts.
The plan for the first Leathers playground created an enormous controversy.
Playground opponents — no, that’s not an oxymoron — feared a ruined beach vista. They worried the swings and ladders would be a magnet for out-of-towners, or taken over by beer-drinking, pot-smoking, sex-having teenagers.
The playground controversy brought the first — and only — death threat of 1st selectwoman Marty Hauhuth’s tenure.
Anti-playground activists obtained a court injunction. (They were not playing around.)
As soon as it was lifted, construction began. It was a magical weekend.
The playground quickly became one of Westport’s prime attractions. It did not ruin the view; it enhanced it. And the only problem now is that on beautiful days, too many people use it.
Congratulations to (besides Rick) Rich Stein, Totney Benson, Andrew Colabella, Evan Stein, John Richers and James Weisz.
All knew where to find last week’s Photo Challenge. Even if they didn’t all know as much about it as Rick does.
How about this week’s puzzle? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.