It’s hard to believe, but the Compo Beach playground was almost not built.
When the plan was proposed in 1988, some neighbors and others in town feared everything from a “ruined vista,” to a horde of out-of-towners, to our own teenagers hanging out there, drinking and doing drugs.
They sued to stop its construction. As soon as a court injunction was lifted, volunteers of all ages went to work.
The result was one of Westport’s biggest attractions. (For kids — not out-of-towners or frisky teens.)
Parents lead children through the Compo Beach playground.
About 20 years later, another community-wide effort gave it an update and facelift.
Now, another rebuild is on the (still unspoiled) horizon.
The Westport Rotary Club and Westport Young Woman’s League will lead the project. They partnered on the original construction, and the first rebuild too.
Longtime Rotary volunteer and local builder Rick Benson is spearheading the effort.
He helped build the original playground more than 3 decades ago. He still calls it one of the best experiences of his life.
He and his wife Totney were new to town. They met other families. His children also made friends during the construction. Some of those relationships remain today.
(Youngsters were involved in the playground from the start. They helped design it, with noted architect Robert Leathers, and worked at the site. The littlest ones organized boxes of screws.)
The Compo Beach playground is popular many months of the year.
Rotary has chosen Play By Design to help with the “new” playground. It will include modern structures and features, as well as upgrades like replacing damaged boards resolving unsafe and accessibility issues, and improving visibility.
Right now, Rotary is assembling a steering committee (non-Rotarians are welcome!). Areas include:
- General coordinators (2)
- Volunteers coordinators (2)
- Public relations
- Special needs
- Donated materials
- Purchased materials
- Food coordinator
- Childcare coordinator
- Site coordinator
- Crew leader
- Art and special features
- Children’s representative
Rotary is also looking for volunteers for 3- to 4-hour on the build day next spring. Children can help. There will also be childcare and other activities.
Click here to volunteer for the steering committee and/or build day. For more information, follow @compobeachplay on Instagram
An initial meeting is set for Saturday, September 9 (9 a.m., at the wooden pavilion by the Compo Beach playground).
(Like the Compo Beach playground, “06880” is all about community. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)
Time for a facelift. (Photo/JD Dworkow)