Tag Archives: John McKinney

Y Cuts The Ribbon; Long Journey Is Almost Complete

video tribute featuring Allen Raymond was the emotional highlight of yesterday evening’s Westport Y ribbon-cutting ceremony. But there were many other memorable moments too, at the new Mahackeno facility.

The spacious new parking lot was filled. Y members, staffers, volunteers and friends gathered to celebrate the move from the 90-year-old downtown facility, to the one off Wilton Road.

Longtime benefactors were honored at a pre-dedication reception inside. The Gault, Mitchell and Tauck families headed the list.

Robin Tauck enjoys one of the Y's new group fitness studios.

Robin Tauck enjoys one of the Y’s new group fitness studios.

Then the group assembled outside the west-facing front entrance. Replicating the work of his predecessor 91 years ago, Reverend Jeffrey Rider of Greens Farms Congregational Church delivered a prayer that invoked the first chapter of the Bible: Rather than dwell alone, mankind should be part of a community.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe continued the theme. He said the Y makes the community more whole, more healthful and more connected.

State Senator John McKinney — a Bedford descendant — described his family’s 5-generation support of the Y.

Board president Bonnie Strittmatter and trustees chairman Pete Wolgast thanked many people. So did Y CEO Rob Reeves, with a special shout-out to principal designer Kevin Smith.

Y CEO Rob Reeves, and  the crowd in the big new parking lot.

Y CEO Rob Reeves, and the crowd outside the new building.

After the ribbon was cut, 250 people poured into the new Y. The adults ate, talked and toured, while the kids romped in the new gym.

It was a great start. But it’s premature. Until final inspections are done and permits are issued — hopefully within a few days — the downtown Y will linger on.

Enjoying the evening (from left): Ruth Sherman, who has taught aqua fitness at the Y since the 1960s; former CEO Helene Weir, who came from Canada, and Patty Kondub, a popular Y spin and aqua teacher. (Photos/Scott Smith)

Enjoying the evening (from left): Ruth Sherman, who has taught aqua fitness at the Y since the 1960s; former CEO Helene Weir, and Patty Kondub, a popular Y spin and aqua teacher. (Photos/Scott Smith)

 

 

Public Protest Dooms Proposed Post Plaza Plan

Some powerful voices roared last night, as the Zoning Board of Appeals considered an application for a new entrance/exit from the Post Plaza Shopping Center onto South Morningside Drive.

The proposed driveway — referred to by some proponents as a benign-sounding “curb cut” — would be built directly opposite the Green’s Farms Elementary School bus exit. Hundreds of area residents fought the idea, citing safety concerns.

The main entrance and exit for Post Plaza Shopping Center. The entrance and exit would be at the rear, on South Morningside Drive.

The main entrance and exit for Post Plaza Shopping Center. The entrance and exit would be at the rear, on South Morningside Drive.

Opponents included State Senator John McKinney, who represents Green’s Farms in Hartford, and presumably had other things to do — hours earlier, he announced he’s running for governor.

First selectman candidate Jim Marpe also blasted the proposal.

But some of the strongest words belonged to Joan Constantikes. In 1971 she helped lead the original fight against an entrance/exit there — before construction of the shopping center even began.

Calling the design “selfish and aggrandizing, which would endanger the entire neighborhood,” the octogenarian said (in a letter read by RTM member Dewey Loselle):

It is never too late to do the right thing, and the same issues exist now as existed back then: Do you put the desires of a business group before the needs and safety of school children?  I sincerely hope that the kinds of people who joined our cause back then will come to the fore again, and that right will prevail.

More than 4 decades after she began, Joan Constantikes still battles for children.

And still wins.

The ZBA denied the application.

Unanimously.