Tag Archives: Parker Harding Plaza

Our Long Parker Harding Nightmare Has Ended

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Pics Of The Day #590

Finally!

The gross, unsightly, overflowing, visibility-impairing dumpsters at the head of Parker Harding Plaza have been removed.

Unfortunately, it seems some downtown merchants didn’t get the message that the new trash compactors are ready for use.

(Photos/Chip Stephens)

Let’s hope they figure out how to dump their garbage soon.

It’s not rocket science. Just common courtesy.

The Nor’easter Missed Us. Still…

We avoided torrential rain. The 50-mph wind gusts never came.

Still, Westport did not escape today’s rains. And — with the moon nearly full — floods were reported all over town.

This is the new normal.

There was no outdoor dining today at Arezzo restaurant. (Photo/Scott Rownin)

At Parker Harding Plaza, flood gates seem not to have been deployed. Water poured in to the nail salon. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Old Mill Beach got pounded … (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

… as did nearby Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

This was the scene at South Compo Road, near Bradley Street … (Photo/Chip Stephens)

… and around the corner, Bradley Street and Fairfield Avenue. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Additional flooding was reported at Wilton Road and Post Road West; Imperial Avenue near Baker Avenue, and Harbor and Canal Roads on Saugatuck Shores.

Tomorrow should be partly cloudy, with a high near 55. Winds will be 5-10 mph.

Pic Of The Day #555

Parker Harding Plaza has never looked better (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Name That Lot!

You may have heard the name Sigrid Schultz.

A pioneering female war correspondent, broadcaster and author who risked her life to expose Nazi secrets to the world, she hid her Jewish heritage from the likes of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels, whom she loathed but entertained in her Berlin home for the sole purpose of extracting information.

Sigrid Schultz

After Schultz and her mother fled Germany, they bought a house and barn at 35 Elm Street. When Sigrid died in 1980, the town demolished her home to expand the Baldwin parking lot.

This famous woman has remained largely unknown in her adopted hometown. But that may change soon, if a Downtown Plan Implementation Committee recommendation to name the new Elm Street parking lot — the one next to Bedford Square, created by the demolition of Villa del Sol directly opposite the Baldwin lot — is approved by the Board of Selectmen, acting as the town’s Traffic Authority.

Then again, it may not be named the Sigrid Schultz Parking Lot.

DPIC member Dewey Loselle suggested celebrating former Public Works head Steve Edwards. The longtime but low-key director nixed that idea.

Another suggestion was to honor the residents of 22 1/2 Main Street — the African American boardinghouse that went up in flames (probably arson) nearly 70 years ago. The location was adjacent to the new parking lot.

It might be tough coming up with an appropriate name — “22 1/2 Main Street lot” would be too confusing for the Elm Street address.

But that hasn’t hasn’t stopped one Westporter from taking a second look.

Chip Stephens grew up here. As a Planning & Zoning Commission member, he attends DPIC meetings. He wants to make sure the name of the new lot reflects town sentiment — not simply the will of one committee.

Pete Wassell

Perhaps, he says, the lot should be named after the Wassell brothers. Harry, Bud and Pete were all killed within 15 months of each other, during World War II.

Or, Stephens says, maybe there are other Westporters we should consider.

So let’s have a townwide discussion, right here on “06880.” Click “Comments” to offer suggestions, and debate the ideas.

Sure, it’s only a parking lot. But, as Stephens notes, “it will be there forever.”

FUN FACTS: So who is this Baldwin that the other Elm Street lot is named for? Herb Baldwin — a former first selectman. 

And on the other side of Main Street, Parker Harding Plaza is named for co-sponsors Emerson Parker and Evan Harding. Fortunately — considering the state of that parking lot — everyone has forgotten those two.

36 Elm Street was demolished in January, to make room for a new parking lot next to Bedford Square. (Photo/Jen Berniker)

 

Pic Of The Day #418

Crowds line Parker Harding Plaza for the start of today’s Great Duck Race. Nearly 3,000 plastic yellow ducks are corraled at the north end of the Saugatuck River. The event is a major fundraiser for Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club. (Drone photo/Ryan Felner)

Nor’easter!

Heavy rain, high winds, a full moon and high tides made for a messy Westport this morning.

Be prepared for more this afternoon.

Westport schools are closing 2 hours early. Stay safe and dry!

It’s all water underneath the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Another view of the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

A car tries to navigate Parker Harding Plaza. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Stores on the river side of Main Street. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Imperial Avenue is flooded. (Photo/Shari Lebowitz)

Long Island Sound laps up against Soundview Drive. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Another view of Soundview. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

High water on South Compo, near the Minute Man monument. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Ned Dimes Marina is higher than usual. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Southbound traffic on I-95 is near a standstill. This shot is from Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Eversource crews stand ready, at the Merritt Parkway exit 41 commuter parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Bah, Humbug!

You can debate the quantity (how much is enough?) and quality (wreaths? stars? lights on poles or overhead?) of Main Street holiday decorations all you want.

But what you can’t debate is what the backside of downtown’s main drag — Parker Harding Plaza — looks like.

It’s grim. 

This is not the face we want to show shoppers.

A grossed-out Westporter took these photos on Sunday. She sent them to “06880,” along with these thoughts:

I know the Chamber of Commerce sponsors events to celebrate the season — carolers, carriage rides, tree lightings and a holiday mixer.

These events are fine. But they don’t contribute to a festive feeling unless you’re actually in attendance.

What matters more to most of us is what we experience day-to-day, while shopping and making our holiday preparations downtown.

Small shops that decorate storefronts are great. But with so many chains, it’s the Downtown Merchants Association and Chamber that ideally would pick up the slack.

Most of the chains are very festive inside. It’s the streetscapes that need attention.

The situation in Parker Harding is a holiday horror. It doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. Every year there’s something similar, it seems.

If the DMA and Chamber members aren’t sure how to set the stage for holiday cheer, they could ask those of us who run around from Thanksgiving to New Year’s what we would like to keep our spirits and energy high.

Personally, I’d love to see some beautiful greenery and a few twinkling string lights. Plus trash that is well managed, open sidewalks and open parking spaces – – not torn up and blocked off with tape.

Kids selling hot cider for a good cause would be icing on the cake.

Please stop the madness that is these photographs — dumpsters, port-a-potties, closed sidewalks and blocked off parking spaces! This is no way to welcome holidaymakers!

 

Pic Of The Day #226

Parker Harding Plaza, for the holidays (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

You Want Vermin With That Order?

It’s a regular “06880” feature. Not as frequent as bad/entitled/obnoxious parkers, but still annoyingly often.

The gross garbage dump in Parker Harding Plaza.

The most recent “06880” post was on June 14.

One of the 18 comments was from the Downtown Merchants Association:

The Westport DMA has developed a detailed plan for improving downtown maintenance, where a majority of the costs will be handled by businesses, with some contribution from the Town for public areas, including roads, public parking lots and public buildings. This is to include both summer and winter maintenance, as well as trash.

The Town portion is still under discussion, made more challenging in the current budget climate. However, a specific plan to vastly improve the trash situation and general appearance for Parker Harding is in an advanced stage of collaborative approval (which will include a consolidated and upgraded trash area) and hopefully will be accomplished this summer.

Well, summer has come and gone. This was the view an hour ago:

Oh — you want a closeup of whatever it is the arrow is pointing to?

Yep, that’s some form of vermin.

Just the thing to enjoy with your grande vanilla bean creme frappuccino.