Category Archives: Saugatuck

Friday Flashback #79

The Black Duck — Westport’s favorite dive/karaoke bar — has sat tilting in the Saugatuck River forever, right?

Well, sort of.

Seth van Beever posted this painting on Facebook:

He wrote that his grandfather — Gerry Haehl — owned the barge, and ran a bait and tackle shop there.

Seth says the barge was later replaced by a new one.

In the early ’70s, it looked like this:

Some things never change.

Others change very, very slowly.

On The Meeting Docket — And Off

In November, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Commission unanimously approved construction of a new walkway and bathrooms at South Beach — the no-lifeguard, cookout grill, alcohol-permitted section beloved by picnickers and sunset-watchers.

The walkway will be similar to the one installed 2 years ago, from the pavilion near Joey’s to the cannons. Made of cement, it features wooden railings open to access every 2 cars.

It will connect to the current walkway at the cannons. It continues to the cut-through road near the kayak launch, then joins the gravel marina walkway via a crosswalk.

The current roadway would shift slightly north, to accommodate the new walkway. Several parking spots would be lost.

Plans for the new walkway and bathrooms at South Beach. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The bathroom — to be built on an unpaved area just south of the pickleball courts — will include an outdoor shower and water fountain. The exterior is white with blue trim, and brick accents.

The projected cost for the walkway is $429,643. The bathroom cost is $257,473.

This Thursday (February 15, 7 p.m., Town Hall), the Planning & Zoning Commission will discuss the proposal. The meeting is open to the public.

One meeting that will not be held is the Saugatuck Transit Oriented Design Master Plan Steering Committee. Their study — funded by a $450,000 state grant — was to be presented at a public session this Monday.

According to RTM member Matthew Mandell, “changes requested from the last meeting were so broad that there was no way to get a new draft in time.”

It’s unclear, Mandell adds, whether the public meeting will be rescheduled — or if there will be public comment at all.

He does not even know if the committee will vote to accept the report — which includes parking decks, new housing units, new retail and office play, but did not include a traffic study.

The state has extended the deadline for the TOD report to be filed. It’s now due in late March.

[OPINION] Carolanne Curry: Public Must Keep Questioning Saugatuck Development

Carolanne Curry is a 20-year resident of Saugatuck. She’s concerned about possible changes to the neighborhood — and about the process. She writes:

It was painful to hear the response given to Helen Garten at the last Transit Oriented District meeting.

Speaking as a public member attending the 8 a.m. session, Helen questioned the gap of understanding between the TOD committee members appointed by the 1st Selectman, and the frustrated “Don’t ruin our community” members of the public, who have religiously attended this dance marathon of TOD meetings for over a year.

Helen said that public input is not acknowledged to any degree in the TOD report that is shaping up to account for the $450,000 in state money spent by Westport to create a design plan to improve transportation at our transportation center.

One of the plans from the Transit Oriented Design proposal.

The response from those conducting that TOD session was that Helen perhaps had not attended a sufficient number of meetings, or else she wouldn’t be asking that question.

A comment about attendance was nowhere near appropriate. The right response would have been:

The TOD committee members understand that 1) development, 2) intensity of development, and 3) the inevitable “overdevelopment” of Saugatuck Center is the pursuit of this TOD committee. Even if it results in the loss of identity, community and history.

This appears to be one more battle between the forces of artificially forced development, and those who encourage relevant and organic growth of a community.

Hats off to Helen for warning that community input was not being acknowledged.

One of the final 2 TOD meetings is again at 8 a.m. — tomorrow (Tuesday, January 30, Town Hall). The public must keep asking questions about increased traffic and development in Saugatuck center.

An aerial view of Saugatuck, from the consultants’ draft report.

Pic Of The Day #286

Fog rolls in on the Saugatuck River, earlier today (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Pic Of The Day #285

You can’t get there from here: The Cribari Bridge opens (Photo/David Squires)

Pic Of The Day #282

View from the Saugatuck River train bridge (Photo/Golda Villa)

Unsung Heroes #32

If they wave us through, we love ’em.

If they put up a gloved hand to stop us, we hate ’em. Especially if they stop us just as we get there.

Or if we’re in even more of a rush than usual.

A typical North Avenue scene.

But Westport’s traffic cops deserve our thanks. They’re this week’s Unsung Heroes.

In the words of alert — and grateful — “06880” reader Lauren Barnett, who nominated them:

“They assist with, and add calm and order to, the madness and mayhem of parents and teenage drivers outside Staples High and Bedford Middle School at dawn, and in the frigid cold, each day.”

Lauren gives a shout-out too to “those officers who stand out in the cold night by the bridge and Rizzuto’s to direct anxious commuters safely home from the evening trains in Saugatuck.

“I wish I knew their names. We all should.”

Interestingly, the William F. Cribari Bridge (noted above) is named for a much loved — and very theatrical — traffic cop. He owned that well-traveled corner for years. Each day, he brought order, grace — even humor — to it.

Bill Cribari, at work (and play). (Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

That’s the thing: We may love them, tolerate them, or curse them.

But when they’re not there, we sure miss them.

(Want to nominate an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

 

Pics Of The Day #275

Ice on Gray’s Creek … (Photo/Michelle Cardello)

… and the Saugatuck River, by the Saugatuck Rowing Club. (Photo/Diana Kuen)

Latest Saugatuck Draft Plan Released; Committee Meets On Tuesday

Plans for the redevelopment of Saugatuck keep plugging along.

The latest draft of the “Saugatuck: A Gateway for Westport” plan was released late last week. It’s available to the public by clicking here.

The Saugatuck Transit Oriented Design Master Plan Steering Committee meets this Tuesday (January 16, 8 a.m., Town Hall Room 201). The public is invited to comment, after BartonPartners — the consultant on the project — makes its presentation.

An aerial view of Saugatuck, from the consultants’ draft report.

Photo Challenge #159

Last week’s photo challenge took “06880” readers out of Saugatuck.

All the way to Easton.

That’s where the “Arrow” sign — an iconic symbol of the much-loved Nistico family restaurant, which began at the arrow-shaped corner of Franklin Street and Saugatuck Avenue, before moving around the corner for a long run — is today.

It hangs in Greiser’s, the deli/antiques/general (and really only) store in that nearby town.

After the Arrow closed — becoming first Jasmine, then the Blu Parrot, and opening soon as Mystic Market — the sign could be found at the Red Barn, the Nisticos’ other beloved restaurant.

When that closed, Greiser’s bought it. Congratulatons, Bob Stalling: Staples grad, Fairfield resident, and the only “06880” reader who recognized it from there. (Click here for the photo, and all comments.)

Meanwhile, in honor of all this frosty weather, today’s photo challenge is:

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

If you know where in Westport you’d find this — when it’s not covered in snow — click “Comments” below.