Retired Westport attorney Michael Nayor and his wife Rhoda Nayor, a retired audiologist, have lived in Greens Farms for over 40 years. With their 3 children — all products of the Westport schools — the Nayors have long enjoyed Burying Hill Beach.
But as spring nears, he’s concerned about it. Nayor writes:
Around this time for the last several years I begin to think about Burying Hill Beach, and what a shame it is that it has become somewhat of an afterthought when preparing for the summer months.
Years ago Burying Hill was a very popular destination. Children and moms came throughout the day. Weekends saw loads of families enjoying it.
Today, with the exception of one hearty club-like group of swimmers, it is used infrequently.
Burying Hill has become very uninviting. The rocky (big rocks, not pebbles) shoreline makes entry into the water precarious at a minimum, and dangerous for the most part.
In addition the jetty along the southwestern border of the beach has been in serious disrepair for years.
There are restrooms and garbage is picked up, but little else is done. Fewer and fewer people each year use the beach, giving rise to the self-fulfilling prophecy that because fewer people use the facility, fewer resources need to be dedicated to it.
Starting over 4 years ago, an attempt was made to recruit the town administration to do something about the extremely dangerous condition of the jetty – either rebuild it or remove it altogether, with the assistance of the state.
While certain permits have been obtained, the project seems to have stalled at the bidding/funding stage. This may be understandable, under current circumstances.
But the bottom line is that while Compo may be the crown jewel of Westport, there are other jewels as well. Ignoring them does a disservice to the community.
The town has many fine resources. All should be maintained as well. To avoid doing so pulls down the town’s reputation and image.
A successful effort to rehabilitate Burying Hill enhances the benefits available to all residents, and reflects the town’s pride in all of its resources.
Hopefully when things get back to normal, efforts to rehabilitate Burying Hill will begin again.
I asked Westport Parks & Recreation director Jennifer Fava for a comment. She says:
In regard to the jetty, the town has been going through the permitting process with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.
We received the permit to do the work, which is included in the 5-year capital plan.
We have tried to get permission from those agencies in the past to add sand to the beach, but have been denied. We plan to try again, in hopes we will be able to do so.
In terms of regular resources, we supply lifeguards and gate staff as we do at other locations. The beach gets groomed weekly (same as Old Mill), and like the other beaches we have a contract with a company to redistribute the sand prior to each season.
This year we will add screening of rocks out of the sand as part of this process, in hopes it will make an improvement.