Tag Archives: Ketchum Street

Friday Flashback #283

Facebook is filled with places to post old photos.

The other day, Fran Smith uploaded a classic.

Captioned “getting ready to sled down Ketchum Street,” it offers a fascinating glimpse into late 1940s or early ’50s Westport — without a sled or street in sight.

Look at those faces. They’re mostly teenagers — but many look nothing like kids today. They seem both older and more innocent.

Their smiles are genuine. They were not posing for social media. They were ready to have fun. On sleds.

If you’re wondering: Ketchum is the short road connecting Franklin Street with Riverside Avenue (between The Whelk and the fire station). Back in the day, it was part of the heart of Saugatuck.

Sledding it today would be dangerous — too much traffic.

Besides, it’s been de-humped.

PS: Did those thin scarves really keep those girls warm?

Saugatuck Center Phase II Moves Forward

More than a decade ago, the Gault family’s bold plan kick-started the renaissance of Saugatuck.

Two plazas with restaurants, shops and apartments brought new life to one of Westport’s oldest neighborhoods. It’s a vibrant, fun and walkable area, with only one chain store in sight. (Dunkin’ Donuts. At least it’s not Starbucks.)

Now, a new development will soon begin.

Last week, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously in favor of Phase II of Saugatuck Center. It consists of residential apartments on Ketchum Street — the humpback road connecting Riverside Avenue and Franklin Street.

Aerial view of the Phase II apartments (white and green).

Three of the apartments will be affordable, based on town regulations.

Thirteen units will be in the area near the office building that houses the Hub workspace, Bartaco corporate headquarters and a financial firm. That building will remain. Parking is underground.

A small office building on Ketchum near Franklin, as well as the post office mailbox building, will be removed. Four more townhouse-style units will be built there.

The streetscape will be similar to the apartments already further east on Ketchum, with trees, sidewalks and matching lamps. Bruce Beinfield is the project architect.

An artist’s rendering of the apartments. View is northeast, from the corner of Franklin and Ketchum Streets.

The project also includes work on the parking lot at the existing office building, as well as 518 Riverside Avenue. That building houses Landtech, the engineering and environmental firm that’s working with the Gaults on Phase II.

The P&Z was the final town body needed for approval.

Groundbreaking takes place in early spring. The first residents move in in in 2021.

A Bridge To Somewhere, Once

As Westporters debate the fate of the Bridge Street (aka Cribari) Bridge, we’ve heard a lot about the temporary span erected during the most recent (1980s) renovation.

What’s a temporary bridge? How did it divert traffic while the permanent bridge was worked on? What did it look like?

Thanks to indefatigable “06880” reader/researcher Fred Cantor, everyone now knows:That’s the temporary structure on the left, cutting from Bridge Street over the Saugatuck River, through what was then the Mansion Clam House (now Parker Mansion) parking lot.

Pretty cool, huh?

Bridge Street bridge - temporary from 1980s

(Photo/Steve Turner)

BONUS FEATURE: Hump-backed Ketchum Street is at the lower right. It’s been lowered considerably since then, during the Saugatuck Center project.

Ketchum Complete

Phase II of Gault’s Saugatuck redevelopment project is almost done.

Saugatuck Craft Butchery is getting ready to move across Riverside Avenue, into much larger quarters (with tables and seats). Cocoa Michelle will follow with an expanded gourmet market, from around the corner on Railroad Place.

All of the 1-bedroom apartments on the west side of Riverside have rented; only a few 2-bedrooms remain. They’re high-end, with handsome finishes and intriguing layouts.

Sidewalks are being extended; outdoor lamps will be installed.

And — very importantly — Ketchum Street is open to traffic.

The hump has been almost eliminated. Riverside Avenue and Franklin Street are once again connected — now visually, as well as vehicularly.

Newly engineered Ketchum Street makes walking in Saugatuck fun.

Newly engineered Ketchum Street makes walking in Saugatuck fun.

That’s good news for the small businesses nearby. And great news for anyone who cares about this tight-knit, walkable neighborhood. It’s back — and more vibrant and varied than any time since I-95 tore through.

That construction ripped the heart out of Saugatuck.

Gault has given it a new heart — and new life.