Tag Archives: Saugatuck redevelopment

Saugatuck Redevelopment Schedule Set

In his twin roles as RTM member and executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Matthew Mandell keeps his eye on the town.

He wants everyone to know what’s happening with redevelopment plans for Saugatuck — the RTM district he represents. Yesterday, he told constituents that the study committee will meet — without the consultants — this Tuesday (December 19, 8 a.m., Town Hall Room 201).

The public may attend, and will be given the option to speak. However, Mandell says, “It might take a bit to get to you. I think the committee will have a lot to talk about.”

He included a link to the Executive Summary (click here to read).

A map in the Executive Summary shows possible developments in Saugatuck.

Three days later — on December 22 — consultants will submit the draft report/plan to the town.

Mandell says, “Personally, I think this might be too quick, figuring there might be a whole slew of changes and requests from the committee. But hey, it’s a goal from the chairs.”

On January 11 (Town Hall, 8 a.m.), the committee and consultants will discuss the plan.

A public evening session is set for January 22 (7 p.m.).

The final draft will be submitted to the town on February 2. Three days later — 9 days before the deadline — it will be submitted to the state.

Mandell says there is one thing he has not seen: when the committee itself votes on the plan.

The previous redevelopment of Saugatuck brought a retail/residential complex that includes The Whelk, Saugatuck Sweets, Downunder and 20 apartments. It is separate from the new redevelopment plan.

On Deck For Saugatuck…

A year ago, the Transit Oriented Design Master Plan Committee — the group studying long-term development in and around the Saugatuck train station — and local citizens made it clear to project consultants that 2 ideas were non-starters:

  • No deck parking
  • No 3-story buildings.

This morning — after a year of input and study — a final draft was presented. It included:

A parking deck …

… a 3-story building …

… and, for good measure, substantial new development.

Oh, yeah. When asked what these proposals would mean for traffic in and around Saugatuck, the consultants replied that “any details on lessening the traffic burden” were “outside the scope” of their study.

Following The Arrow

Longtime lovers of the Arrow — for decades, Saugatuck’s favorite restaurant/gathering spot/clubhouse — will find this photo immeasurably sad.

So will devotees of the Blu Parrot, the much shorter-lived, but also greatly admired, live music/bar/restaurant.

Arrow Restaurant for sale

As Saugatuck undergoes a renaissance — Phase II opened officially last week, adding more retail and residential space to the current mix of excellent restaurants, popular bars, walkable streets and new river activities — there must be a way to repurpose this great space.

Click “Comments” for suggestions. Use real, full names, please!

Crowdsourcing The Ideal Westport

As 2013 begins, Westport sits on the cusp of exciting changes.

Downtown development is picking up steam. The west bank of the river may soon look very different. Saugatuck 2.0 is moving ahead (have you seen flattened-out Ketchum Street lately?). The Y at Mahackeno is a done deal, much teeth-gnashing to the contrary.

So, as a new page turns  — and while people are still wishing each other “Happy New Year!” — this is a great time to look ahead.

And to amass the wisdom of the “06880” community. When we want to, we can be a very thoughtful, creative and insightful bunch.

Here’s today’s assignment: What is your vision of the ideal Westport?

Everyone has his or her own vision of where Westport should head. What's yours? (Photo by  Sean Hughes)

Everyone has his or her own vision of where Westport should head. What’s yours? (Photo by Sean Hughes)

Take any aspect of the town you wish. Zoning, architecture, demographics, education, recreation, transportation, culture — it’s all up for grabs.

Let us know what you think Westport should be — and how it can get there.

Important caveat:  This is not a bitch session. It’s not about what hasn’t worked, or is not now working. It’s not about tearing down or mocking other people’s thoughts. It’s simply a chance to provide your input as to where you’d like to see our community be, in the months, years and decades ahead.

Click “Comments.” Let the crowdsourcing begin!

The Sounds of Saugatuck Silence

Plans are proceeding for the redevelopment of Saugatuck.

(Courtesy of Westport Patch)

A nifty artist’s rendering is on display, showing in gauzy architect-vision the “new”  Riverside Avenue.  Phase I — planned for completion in early 2011 (known in Chinese as The Year Pigs Fly) — includes 4,000 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of offices, and 6 residential apartments.

The buildings will be called “Marsh” and “Tide,” which is better than faux English names like River Crossinge or Ye Olde Westport Place, yet ignores the area’s long Italian heritage completely.

The concept is sound:  bring back a small, bustling, pedestrian-friendly environment (though underneath the dark, massive I-95 bridge).  But already small, bustling businesses like De Rosa’s and the Saugatuck Barber Shop have been vacated.

Arguments can be made for and against such “progress.”

Yet — and this is what “06880” can’t understand — why is no one talking about this?

Westporters are passionate about many things.  Dogs on the beach, Parks and Rec’s online registration crashing for a few minutes, putting a group home on town-owned Post Road property — those get our backs up, and set our fingers typing.

For months, though, Saugatuck has been balanced on the edge of change.  A new neighborhood is coming.  What that means for all of us — wherever we live, whatever our heritage, how often or little we go there — is a matter of intense importance.

And incredible silence.