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Tag Archives: Church Lane
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As summer winds down, the Westport Garden Club found a perfect spot for its #FridayFlowers arrangement: the lifeguard shack at Compo Beach.
Those guys (and girls) definitely deserve the love!
When the 2020 (’21) Paralympic Games begin Tuesday in Tokyo, Westporters should pay attention to swimmer Matthew Torres.
The 20-year-old Fairfield University sophomore — born without part of his right leg and missing all but one toe on his left foot, along with curvature of his hands — will compete in the 100 and 400 meter freestyle, and 100 meter backstroke.
He’s a proud alum of the Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rats program — and winner of the 200 individual medley at the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series.
Go get ’em, Matthew. And congrats to the Water Rats, who helped get him there!
The Westport Police Benevolent Association Car Cruise scheduled for today (Saturday), has been canceled due to weather concerns. The new date is October 2 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
All 3 sailors from Longshore Sailing School’s week-long regatta in honor of the late Doug Sheffer are Staples High School students. In the photo below, winner James Russell is flanked by second place finisher Annabelle Lott, and bronze medalist Alex St. Andre.
Who knows what Henri will bring?
But even as the clouds rolled in, there were few worries last night at Compo Beach:
In addition to the beach, Westporters flocked last night to Jazz at MoCA, featuring Samara Joy and the Pasquale Grasso trio ,,,
… and more music at the Levitt Pavilion, with Lizzie No. She was spellbinding, and her friend Amy Irving joined her for a “Cecilia” duet …
… and of course outdoor dining, on Church Lane and elsewhere in town.
“Tiny jumpers” is the way Molly Alger describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:
And finally … in honor of Henri:
Last week, I introduced the “06880” Question Box.
It’s a chance to ask anything you’ve wondered about (with a Westport angle, of course). Questions can be current or historical, concrete or abstract, deep or shallow.
I’ll attempt to answer them. If I don’t have the answer, I’m sure other “06880” readers will.
You responded quickly. Here’s the first set of questions. And — where appropriate — the answers.
Who is Grace Salmon, and why is there a park named for her? (Arlene Yolles)
According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, Grace King Salmon was a founding member of the Westport Woman’s Club.
The wife of Frederick Salmon — Connecticut state comptroller, and president of Westport Bank & Trust — she died in 1939. She left a trust in her own name to benefit the town.
Virginia Sherwood, Westport Garden Club chairman, applied for grants from the trust and other agenciees to design a park on 3 acres of Saugatuck River landfill across the river from where the Salmons lived (now the Assumption Church rectory).
It took several years to solve the site’s environmental problems. But the Garden Club developed Connecticut’s first park built on a former landfill, and won an award for its efforts.
Today, Grace K. Salmon Park is one of Westport’s hidden-in-plain-site treasures. It’s on Imperial Avenue near Baker Avenue — a few yards from the Westport Woman’s Club, which its namesake helped found.
When did the junior high system start in Westport? (Joyce Barnhart)
From its opening in 1884, and for the next 42 years, Staples High School included 7th through 9th graders.
In 1926, construction of a new “Bedford Junior High School” — aided, in large part, by a $145,000 gift from E.T. Bedford — was nearly complete. Situated across a field from the original Staples High School on Riverside (where the auditorium of what is now Saugatuck Elementary School now sits), the building (now Kings Highway Elementary) included an “unusually good” gymnasium, auditorium and stage — all of which would be shared by the high school.
The 18-acre plot between the schools was planned as a well-equipped “playground” (athletic fields) for students and adults.
So 1926 was when the first junior high — for 7th, 8th and 9th graders — opened in Westport. Long Lots followed in the early 1950s, Coleytown in 1965.
Who is “Bob”? This sign (below) has hung for years on the south side of New Creek Road, opposite Maple Lane, near the Greens Farms train station. (Bill Ryan)
Damned if I know. This question has been posed at least once on “06880,” to no avail. If any readers know who “Bob” is — and/or who put his sign high in that tree — click “Comments” below.
What’s the story with the Mercedes station wagon that’s been parked in the same spot for months on Myrtle Avenue, in front of Town Hall? (See photo below.)
The tracks around it from the street sweeper are clear evidence it has not moved. It’s covered in dust, still containing someone’s belongings. No tickets on the windshield, or other signs of official notice, just yards from Town Hall. (Michael Moore)
Believe it or not, I’ve never noticed it — and I drive past Town Hall every day.
But hey, “06880” readers: If you’ve lost your Mercedes-Benz, we know where it is.
If Westport is located on the eastern side of Long Island Sound, why is it not named Eastport? (Ray Broady)
Well, first of all, Westport is north, south, east and west of a lot of things.
How we got our name in 1835 — when our town was officially incorporated, carved out of the towns of Norwalk, Wilton, Weston and Fairfield — has been a matter of dispute for nearly 200 years.
One theory is that it is a port west of Fairfield (our original European settlers came to what is now Greens Farms, from Fairfield).
Another theory is that because the new town was not named Saugatuck — a state representative claimed it sounded too much like “succotash” — the name “Westport” paid homage to that neighborhood, which was a port on the west side of the Saugatuck River.
Why are Westport sidewalks not maintained, not ADA compliant, and not cleared of snow on a timely basis? Why are there no continuous sidewalks on Post Road? Why can’t I walk from Sylvan to Whole Foods? (Monica Buesser)
I asked Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich. He says:
“ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps with detectable warning pads are only required at roadways, not at driveways. The reason you see some sidewalks without ADA ramps at roadways, or with ramps that appear to be non-compliant with the current ADA regs, is that they may have not been replaced recently, and may have been constructed incorrectly, constructed to an earlier ADA standard, or constructed before the ADA regulations were made stricter. As we reconstruct sidewalks around town, we are correcting that situation by installing appropriate ramps where the ADA regs dictate.
“Currently residential properties are cleared of ice and snow by the town. There is no requirement for residential zoned properties to clear their sidewalks. Commercial use properties are required to clear ice and snow from the front of their establishments within 24 hours.
“Having said that, with approximately 23 miles of residential sidewalks, it often takes us multiple days to clear all the sidewalks after a big storm, and if we have back to back storms we prioritize the roads first, then the parking lots, then the sidewalks. We appreciate residents helping us out any way they can during the winter, by clearing the walk in front of their property.”
When will the 1-lane bridge on Bayberry Lane/White Birch Road go back to 2 lanes?
Another one for Public Works director Ratkiewich. He says:
“The Bayberry Lane bridge over the Aspetuck River is tied up in federal permitting right now with the Army Corps of Engineers. We hoped to go to construction this year, but due to the Army Corps’ backlog it appears we will bid this winter. and start construction in the spring of 2022.”
When did the Westport Fire Department move its headquarters from Church Lane, next to the old YMCA (now Bedford Square) to the current Post Road site? (Dorrie Thomas)
1982, says Chief Robert Yost.
I did not ask — but probably should have — if that was the same time they discontinued their Saturday noontime horn test. It could be heard all over town. Nor do I know when the Department stopped alerting volunteer firefighters to the location of a blaze by horns. The short/long codes could be found on the inside of telephone directories. Remember them?
Is water safe to drink from the tap? (Michelle Harmon)
I guess so. If it isn’t, I’m sure we would have heard about it by now.
The “Question Box” is open for more questions. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org!
One person said, “I feel like I’m in Key West.”
Another likened it to Burlington, Vermont. A third said “Italy.”
But all were on Church Lane tonight.
Perfect temperatures and a light breeze brought a big crowd to the blocked-off street.
Restaurants were packed. Music played. Franny’s Farmacy celebrated its 1-year anniversary. Kids played cornhole by Savannah Bee.
It felt like summer in Westport — just better, more appreciated, and more welcoming than ever.
One follows the other. And if one group has its way, there will soon be more lights down.
With more action sure to follow.
The Westport Downtown Association’s newest project is “Light Up Main Street.” The idea is to continue the string lights — currently on Church Lane — all the way down Main Street.
Speaking of action: Josh Allen and Robert Cornield have offered to match up to $2,500 for any donations made.
They’re parents who have each spent the last 12-plus years raising their families here, and supporting the community however they can.
From Coleytown, Greens Farms, Bedford and Staples schools, to Wakemen Town Farm, Little League baseball, DARE, Catch A Lift and other interests close to this town’s heart, both love this town.
Now they turn their eyes downtown.
Josh — who sits on the Westport Downtown Association –and Robert say,
“Tremendous progress has been made downtown, and there is no letting up. With the continued beautification of Church Lane with ornamental baskets and hanging lights, live music on the weekends and outdoor dining, there is a desire by local merchants and community members to have this atmosphere flow right into Main Street.
“Bright lights always bring joy and happiness. However making these improvements comes with a cost. We’ll match up to $2,500 for any donations made to lighting up Main Street.”
The Westport Downtown Association hopes many Westporters will “contribute to the continued beautification of our town, and feel a part of this positive change. The sense of community will be enhanced as we continue to make our surroundings more welcoming to all.”
To contribute and learn more, click here.