Tag Archives: The Hamlet at Saugatuck

Roundup: Hamlet & P&Z, Lamont & Stefanowski; A Better Chance ….

The Hamlet at Saugatuck — a retail/residential/hotel/marina plan that would reimagine the neighborhood between the train station and I-95 bridge — got its first Planning & Zoning Commission hearing last night.

Representatives from ROAN Ventures — the local developers — and their architectural, environmental, traffic and legal partners began their application for text and map amendments. Both are needed to begin remediation efforts of the contaminated land, followed by construction.

The hour-long presentation included a video, maps, and conceptual artists’ renderings. The actual design process has not yet begun.

Applicants addressed issues like traffic, with solutions that include underground parking, and working with the state to synchronize lights. They also noted that 50% of the land will be open space.

Commission members and residents had mixed reactions. There praised the thoughtfulness of the planning and the depth of the presentation, and questioned density and traffic.

No action was taken. The P&Z will continue its discussion on October 3.

A conceptual view of the Hamlet at Saugatuck project, from the river.

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In less than 2 months, Connecticut will elect a governor.

If you don’t know anything about the candidates — or do, and want to ask a question — you don’t have to go far.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston has partnered with the Westport Library to host 2 forums. Both are in the Trefz Forum.

This Thursday (September 15, 10 a.m.), Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski speaks, and takes questions. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ned Lamont does the same next Monday (September 19, 1 p.m.). Both visits will also be livestreamed.

Click here to register for either or both session, in-person or via livestream. Attendees should arrive 15 minutes prior to the start.

(Graphic courtesy of Connecticut Education Association)

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A Better Chance of Westport’s 21st year is off to a rousing start.

New resident directors, 7 multi-talented scholars, and a chance to really be part of (and give back to) the community after 2 COVID years has energized Glendarcy House, the program’s North Avenue home.

The scholars — in grades 9 through 12 — are engaged in a range of activities, at Staples High School and beyond. Because they are not allowed to drive, they need rides after school and in early evenings.

Community volunteers have always come through. To help transport — and get to know — these great young men, and for more information, email abcwestportrides@gmail.com.

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On Sunday, Jeff Manchester took his kids to the 9/11 Memorial.

Not the one at Sherwood Island State Park, though. Jeff is drawn to the one at Oak Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum, off Bronson Road. It’s a 100-acre site where people have remembered loved ones for more than 150 years.

The memorial is a pair of 9-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base. A rock engraved with “Let’s Roll” honors the heroes of Flight 93.

Dedicated last September, it was designed by Dean Powers, a native Westporter and Oak Lawn’s longtime groundskeeper.

He never saw it completed. He died of cancer in 2020.

Click here for the back story on the monument, and Dean’s remarkable contributions to it.

Rock and trees at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

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Do you want some money?

If you’re involved with a non-profit organization, read on.

The Westport Woman’s Club is accepting grant proposals for 2022-2023. Click here for more information, and the form.

Requests for projects that will make a difference in the community may be in the form of funds, or a one-time use of the Westport Woman’s Clubhouse for an event. Grants go each year to organizations in education, health and safety-related programs, and the arts.

Community groups should submit their proposals by October 31 to Westport Woman’s Club, Attention: Community Service Grants, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information, call 203-227-4240.

Organizations can apply for a one-time use of Bedford Hall at the Westport Woman’s Club.

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Like many Staples High School reunions, the Class of 1971’s fell victim to COVID.

Organizers Bonnie Housner Erickson, Tucker Sweitzer and Joanne Romano-Csonka felt the 50th was too big to let pass. So — a year later — the reunion is on (September 30-October 2).

Bonnie and her crew want to make sure “all classmates feel like they matter,” even though some may not have felt that back then. The organizers sought to “remind them they were an integral part of a life-changing period in history.”

In keeping with the late ’60s/early ’70s zeitgeist, they wanted to create an environment of peace and harmony, with “no hierarchy, no difference in status.”

The theme is “Welcome Home” — and the website (hey, this is 2022, not 1971) may be the best for any reunion class, ever. Click here to see.

Bonnie spent hours designing it. Much of it is class-specific of course. But the 1971 flashbacks and photos will interest many people, whether or not they (or their parents) were even alive then.

The reunion itself will feature peace signs, and memories of hangouts like the Ice Cream Parlor and beach. Music is supplied by the Reunion Band — featuring ’71 alums Brian Keane, Michael Mugrage, Bill Sims, Rob and Julie Aldworth McClenathan, Dave Barton and Bonnie Erickson — who rocked the Levitt Pavilion in 2019, the Class of ’70 reunion several weeks ago, and the Class of ’72 reunion last weekend.

Screenshot, Staples High school Class of 1971 reunion website home page.

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Today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” comes from Saugatuck Shores, via Ken Yormark:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

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And finally … Ramsey Lewis — a towering jazz figure for over 50 years — died yesterday in Chicago. He was 87.

His trio hit the pop charts a few times in the 1960s. In 2007 the National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. To support our efforts, please click here.) 

The Hamlet At Saugatuck: Hotel, Retail Plan Ties Rail, River Together

A decade ago, the Saugatuck Center project brought new stores, restaurants and apartments to the banks of the river. It also brought new life and vibrancy to one of the oldest neighborhoods in town.

An even more ambitious and innovative plan may now do the same, a few yards south.

The Hamlet at Saugatuck” reimagines the relationship of the river and railroad to the area. Designed to feel like an extension of the community, it’s envisioned as an economic engine for residents and visitors; a gateway to the rest of the town, and a chance to build something inexplicably missing everywhere else in Westport: a hotel.

A view from the Saugatuck River. These buildings would be on Riverside Avenue, from Railroad Place (left) to Charles Street (right). The railroad tracks are on the left.

Invested in and spearheaded by area residents – including Westport-based ROAN Ventures and Pete Romano’s LandTech environmental engineering firm, with world-renowned architect Bill Bensley – the project is making its way through the long approval process.

Yesterday, ROAN submitted an application to amend the text of Planning & Zoning Department regulations, creating a new zone called General Business District/Saugatuck Marina.

Plans encompass the rectangle between Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place, Franklin Street and Charles Street, plus land on Riverside Avenue from Tutti’s to Railroad Place, and the private parking lot above Luciano Park now used for boat storage.

A gourmet market would be built on land that is now a private parking lot. This is the view from Luciano Park.

It would not include the Black Duck, the office building on Riverside Avenue in front of All Seasons Marina, or Railroad Place between Steam Coffee and the alley by the train station. Current Railroad Place tenants will remain, and The Hamlet aims to help those local businesses thrive.

But what it will include is quite exciting:

  • A boutique hotel with approximately 55 rooms, 35 condo-type residences, pools, and underground parking.
  • New shops and restaurants, featuring local artisans.
  • Gardens, space to stroll and socialize, fire pits in the winter – and a spa.

The boutique hotel, including condo-type residences, and ground-floor shops.

  • A year-round gourmet market on the now-private railroad parking lot, with local vendors (think New York’s Eataly, but with an area twist).
  • A marina with at least 22 slips, giving the community safe and enjoyable access to the waterfront.
  • Water taxis taking guests to Longshore, Compo Beach and downtown.

Another view, with the railroad on the left, the I-95 bridge on the right.

  • A boardwalk along the river, similar to Bartaco’s, with the goal of Connecticut Saugatuck and Westport via waterway.
  • Re-skinning and beautification of the 21 Charles Street office building. Bringing it more in line with local architecture and aesthetics.

Affordable housing would also be included.

The Hamlet is envisioned as a place where year-round visitors – including those arriving by rail – would stay, play, shop and dine, then use as a base as they explore the rest of Westport.

ROAN also plans to implement cultural, wellness and family-focused programming, designed for the community at large.

There is plenty of work to be done. The current dry cleaners, near what was once a car dealership, needs heavy remediation. ROAN is ready to do that.

Redevelopment of this area has been discussed for years. This winter, state legislators considered a bill to designate areas near train stations for dense development. It stalled in committee, but similar proposals are expected again.

It took several years, and two stages, for the Saugatuck Center project to be completed a decade ago. The Hamlet is in the early stages of the permitting process. ROAN is targeting a 2026 opening.

So it’s too early to book a hotel room, or a water taxi ride.

But it sounds like it will be well worth the wait.