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Tag Archives: Compo Beach South Beach
At first, the long blue mat drew puzzled stares.
Very quickly last year however, the Mobi-Mat — running from the Compo Beach boardwalk to the water, near the brick pavilion — proved spectacularly popular.
People using wheelchairs and walkers — plus parents pushing strollers — loved the non-stick surface. Soon it was used by others who, for whatever reason, had trouble navigating the sand.
It was a smart, simple solution to an age-old problem: providing access to amenities for the many folks with mobility or related issues.
That’s not all that our Parks & Recreation Department has done to make Compo more accessible to all.
The boardwalk was extended 2 years ago, from the pavilion to the cannons. This year another section was added, from the cannons to the end of South Beach.
It’s a safety measure for all. And a godsend for everyone with a mobility issue, who just could not walk on the sand — or in the road — to enjoy the very popular barbecue-and-sunset-watching end of Compo.
The addition of picnic tables with cutouts for wheelchairs — in the pavilion next to Joey’s by the Shore — was one more small but important recognition that Westport is a place that tries to welcome everyone, of all physical abilities.
So it’s fitting that next Wednesday (June 26, 5:30 p.m., near the new South Beach bathrooms), the town celebrates Westport’s efforts to improve accessibility everywhere.
Parks and Rec director Jen Fava, Human Services director Elaine Daignault and Westport’s Commission on People with Disabilities will host the event. First Selectman Jim Marpe — an ADA champion — will be there too.
The location is significant. Not only are the new bathrooms handicap accessible — of course! — but they’re located across from 2 barbecue stations with ADA-compliant surfaces. They’re specially marked, for folks with wheelchairs and vehicles that transport them.
Jr’s Deli will provide free hot dogs.
Crumb Together — the bakery that trains and employs adults with disabilities — will be there too.
Everyone — of all abilities — is invited!
Construction is finished. Plumbing is installed. Toilet paper is stocked.
Starting tomorrow, the new bathrooms at Compo Beach’s South Beach are good to “go.”
Countless folks will sigh with relief, as they relieve themselves just a few steps across the also-new, already-well-used, keep-pedestrians-and-strollers-off-the-road walkway.
See you there!
When opponents of the new Compo Beach bathroom failed to gather enough signatures to force a town referendum, construction near the pickleball courts seemed assured.
But last night’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting took an unexpected twist.
Commissioner Chip Stephens began by noting that earlier in the day he was at South Beach. Construction has started on a walkway near the boat storage area — in the shortcut by the road that loops near the kayak launch.
Last spring the P&Z approved the walkway, on the south side of the shortcut. But the contractors are working on the north side. They were given plans showing the walkway should go on the north.
Stephens called it a “trivial” mistake. Things like that happen, he said. And often, the P&Z says (in effect) no big deal. Let’s move on.
Stephens’ point was that the petitioners’ push to move the bathroom away from the pickleball courts is also “trivial.” He asked for a sense of the meeting saying (in effect) that if the Parks & Recreation Department decides now to move the bathroom, the P&Z will be flexible. There would be no need for months of deliberation, Stephens said.
His recommendation was not an official agenda item. No action was taken.
But one thing is certain: This post will get another 50 comments, as if it’s the most important issue facing the town.
Last summer’s vexing Compo Beach problems — backups at the main gate, an influx of out-of-towners, packed parking lots — have not yet been solved.
But whether they are or not, visitors next summer may see some important changes on South Beach.
Last night, the 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.
A safe walking path and restrooms have been identified as key needs in surveys and a town charrette, dating back to 2013.
The walkway concept approved last night 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 connects with the gravel marina walkway via a crosswalk.
The current roadway would shift slightly north, to accommodate the new walkway.
No parking would be lost. Several parking spots would be lost.
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.
Plans now go to the Conservation Commission, Flood Board, Architectural Review Board and Planning & Zoning Commission. If the Board of Finance and RTM approve funding, the project will be put out to bid.