Tag Archives: Spruce

Get Your Paper!

Westport is all set to welcome 2 new businesses downtown.

Paper Source is a large store selling, well, paper (plus envelopes, labels and the like). Steven Alan — whose opening is delayed a few weeks — is a men’s and women’s clothier.

Both occupy the new building wedged into the former parking lot between Spruce — the old Town Hall — and Bank of America, just east of Restoration Hardware.

Paper Source, Westport CT

It is, I think, the 1st totally new construction (on an unused site) downtown since 180 Post Road East — Michele’s Pies, La Villa restaurant, etc.

With people (hopefully) streaming in to buy paper and clothes — and eat at the coming-soon restaurants in the old post office, and the basement of Spruce/the old Town Hall, plus crossing the street for Urban Outfitters — the news is good for this stretch of downtown.

But the new building wiped out dozens of parking spots. As Westporters chime in on the possible loss of spaces if the Gunn House is moved across Elm Street to the Baldwin lot, I’m wondering how and why the new construction at 100 Post Road East got a pass.

Big Holes To Fill

Scott Smith is a longtime, and very alert, “06880” reader. As communications director of the Westport Y, he also spends a lot of time downtown. Last week he sent this photo of a huge hole in the parking lot behind the new building going up at 100 Post Road East, next to the old Town Hall (now Spruce).

As a self-described “Touch-a-Truck kind of dad,” Scott has followed the construction of the building — the 1st new one downtown in 40 years — with interest. He says:

Like most job sites around town, they had to pound away for days through solid rock ledge to dig the foundation. I’m always amazed to see the guys working the machinery, how dexterous they are and how oblivious they seem to be to all that jarring noise. I’d last about two hours on the job.

So that’s why I was intrigued to see that in the parking lot just a few feet away, when they had to dig another hole through the pavement, there was 10 feet of garden-variety dirt with loose river rock, then another 10 or 12 feet of pure gray sand. It was very cool-looking, and a classic study in our curious local geology.

The sinkhole was filled in the next day or so; end of lesson. But it got me thinking about other places around town with big holes in the ground, or just filled in, or new plans to dig big. My son and I have ridden our bikes to the top part of Gault’s new development in Saugatuck – that’s a lot of rock! The Gaults have done such a nice job so far. I can’t wait to see how the next phase of the development goes.

And last week I attended the opening ceremony of Cliff’s Place, the new halfway house at Longshore. That modest little project turned out very well, and is just the first of some even bigger privately funded construction projects in the works that will serve a public purpose.

There’s the swanky new Levitt Pavilion, which just received town approval (and some public funding), and, of course our new Y, which will break ground in December. (I’m a member of the Golf Advisory Committee, and work at the Y – a partner/sponsor of some Levitt children’s performances — full disclosure!)

The brick buildings at Compo may get some work.

As “06880” well documents, and as WestportNow.com’s “Teardown of the Day” shows us, virtually every day there are new (big) homes going up all over town. Combine that with some other projects in the planning stages downtown (the movie theater, the remaking of our own old Y) and what I hear may be an ambitious renovation of Compo Beach’s dilapidated brick buildings, all this work gives me a good feeling that we really are “rebuilding America” (at least our small part of it).

Think how many guys are working these days, or will be, on job sites locally. And once they pack up for other sites and leave the ribbon-cutting for those in shiny shoes and nice ties, think how our community will be the better for it.

I think we’re making good progress these days. Don’t you?