Last week’s Question Box was a smash.
Readers wanted answers to everything from Grace Salmon Park and “Bob” to our eternally renovated bridges and old/new firehouse.
I did what I could to respond. Readers pitched in. (Click here if you missed it.)
Then you sent more. Here’s the next set of questions. I know some of the answers. When I don’t — someone else will. Click “Comments” below to help.
I’m sure you’ve covered this in the past. But I’m curious about the history of the boat “Gloria” that I pass every day as I ride through Longshore. And what might the future hold for this venerable vessel? (John Richers)
Short answer: Yes, I’ve written about Gloria many times. Click here for some of those stories and photos.
Longer story: Alan Sterling built the wooden oyster boat himself. He named it after an old girlfriend, and took it oystering on 150 acres of beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.
Alan moored Gloria in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach Road and the Longshore exit. Some winters, he lived on the boat. It was cold — but it was home.
On July 4, 2014, Alan died of a heart attack.
After that, Gloria drifted. Michael Calise took care of it. Earlier this year, it washed up on shore. Its future is uncertain. It’s an old boat that’s seen a lot, and given many Westporters years of joy.
Just as it did for Alan Sterling.
I am new to Westport, from Brooklyn. I know there is talk about revitalizing downtown, and bringing in businesses to fill some of the vacancies. I’m curious if there has ever been a survey of what people would like to see downtown? I am interested in business ownership, and really being part of the community. I wonder what type of businesses folks think would be needed and supported. (Travis Rew-Porter)
Travis, this is awesome. I don’t know of any consumer/user survey. It’s a great idea.
And readers: If you’d like to work with Travis on a business or revitalization project, click “Comments” below!
Does Public Works have any input into local traffic lights? The timing at Morningside Drive/Post Road has changed to prioritize the Post Road more dramatically. The green light for Morningside lasts just 3 seconds. It is impossible to cross on foot. Help! (Amy Bedi)
Unfortunately, nearly every light in town is on a state road. Those balls are in the Department of Transportation’s court.
Click here for a link to report issues to the DOT. But don’t hold your breath.
Town officials — including the 1st selectman and Department of Public Works — are in contact with the state about traffic lights. They can sometimes push things along. But they don’t hold their breath either.
Can Westporters use the track at Staples to run, jog or walk? If so, is it time restricted? Do you need a pass? (Carmen Castedo)
The Laddie Lawrence Track at Paul Lane Field (the first time I’ve written that!) is open to all — except during the school day, or when it’s used after school by the track team, or if there is another sports event going on.
No pass is needed. But keep Fido home!
Is Clinton Avenue named after the namesake of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399 on Riverside Avenue? (Linda Velez)
Not only have I never been asked that — I never even thought about it.
Private Joseph J. Clinton was a Westport soldier. He was killed in France just 4 days before the armistice.
That explains the VFW name. But the road off Main Street, opposite North Compo: I have no idea. Except to say that it is not named for either Bill or Hillary.
What happened to the time capsule that was buried at Greens Farms Elementary School for the bicentennial? I heard that at one time 3 people had plans and permission to dig it up. There is a new road in front of the school. You have a lot of fans who were involved in the project. (A passive-aggressive reader: This was sent by mail, with no name or return address.)
I addressed this in 2012. The answer was the same then: No one knows. (Click here to see.)
But one reader responded with a back story:
I remember the time capsule at Greens Farms El in 1976. It was buried in the front lawn. All the classes/grades were asked to participate in drawings (I think that I was in maybe 3rd grade & our class drew pictures of ourselves and described our lives. We all mused how fun it would be for people 100 years later to see how we lived).
A crane dug a deep hole, and there was quite a bit of ceremony around the time capsule being buried. I’ve told people about it over the years, only to wonder if anyone else remembered it, as well:)
If anyone can dig deeper (ho ho), click “Comments” below.
Some 80 years ago I lived on 573 Imperial Avenue, at the corner of Wakeman Place. The numbers have been reset, but the house is still there. My brothers and I used to swim in the river. I remember diving off “White Rock,” which was close to the shore. Is it still there, or am I dreaming? (Karl Taylor)
You’re probably not dreaming, but I have not heard of it. Wakeman Place residents: What’s the deal?
Why did the state Department of Transportation remove and replace the trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of the Merritt Parkway, near the Westport Weston Family YMCA? It cost a lot of money. Was the outcome worth the expense? (Jacque O’Brien)
I asked State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, who serves on the House Transportation Committee. He says that location was a major staging area for projects up and down the Merritt.
Now that equipment and material has been moved in and out, it’s time to replace what was lost.
What first inspired you to start “06880,” and did you ever think it would keep you this busy? (Jack Krayson)
Wow! I didn’t expect an “06880” question on “06880.”
I started the blog in March of 2009. I was a columnist for the Westport News (I still am!), but realized the future of print journalism was, um, iffy. I wanted to continue to write about town people, issues, events and history. Someone suggested I start a blog.
“No way!” I said. (That’s also what I said about cell phones, when they came in. And computers, before that.)
But he showed me WordPress, a great blogging platform. I learned the basics in a weekend. Here we are, 13,000+ posts (and 136,000+ comments later).
I never dreamed it would keep me this busy. If I knew then what I know now …
… I’d do it all again, in a heartbeat.
Why is Westport pronounced “Wessport”? The “t” is silent! (Kevin McCaul)
My guess: It takes too long to say the first “t.”
And Wessporters are always in a hurry.